List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 3, 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 two or three running over the stage, from the
murder of Duke Humphrey.


FIRST MURDERER 
 Run to my lord of Suffolk. Let him know
 We have dispatched the Duke as he commanded.
SECOND MURDERER 
 O, that it were to do! What have we done?
 Didst ever hear a man so penitent?

Enter Suffolk.

FIRST MURDERER 5Here comes my lord.
SUFFOLK Now, sirs, have you dispatched this thing?
FIRST MURDERER Ay, my good lord, he’s dead.
SUFFOLK 
 Why, that’s well said. Go, get you to my house;
 I will reward you for this venturous deed.
10 The King and all the peers are here at hand.
 Have you laid fair the bed? Is all things well,
 According as I gave directions?
FIRST MURDERER ’Tis, my good lord.
SUFFOLK Away, be gone.The Murderers exit.

129
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

Sound trumpets. Enter King Henry, Queen
Margaret, Cardinal, Somerset, with Attendants.


KING HENRY 
15 Go, call our uncle to our presence straight.
 Say we intend to try his Grace today
 If he be guilty, as ’tis publishèd.
SUFFOLK 
 I’ll call him presently, my noble lord.He exits.
KING HENRY 
 Lords, take your places; and, I pray you all,
20 Proceed no straiter ’gainst our uncle Gloucester
 Than from true evidence of good esteem
 He be approved in practice culpable.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 God forbid any malice should prevail
 That faultless may condemn a nobleman!
25 Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!
KING HENRY 
 I thank thee, Meg. These words content me much.

Enter Suffolk.

 How now? Why look’st thou pale? Why tremblest
 thou?
 Where is our uncle? What’s the matter, Suffolk?
SUFFOLK 
30 Dead in his bed, my lord. Gloucester is dead.
QUEEN MARGARET Marry, God forfend!
CARDINAL 
 God’s secret judgment. I did dream tonight
 The Duke was dumb and could not speak a word.
King Henry swoons.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 How fares my lord? Help, lords, the King is dead!
SOMERSET 
35 Rear up his body. Wring him by the nose.

131
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

QUEEN MARGARET 
 Run, go, help, help! O Henry, ope thine eyes!
King Henry stirs.
SUFFOLK 
 He doth revive again. Madam, be patient.
KING HENRY 
 O heavenly God!
QUEEN MARGARET  How fares my gracious lord?
SUFFOLK 
40 Comfort, my sovereign! Gracious Henry, comfort!
KING HENRY 
 What, doth my lord of Suffolk comfort me?
 Came he right now to sing a raven’s note,
 Whose dismal tune bereft my vital powers,
 And thinks he that the chirping of a wren,
45 By crying comfort from a hollow breast,
 Can chase away the first-conceivèd sound?
 Hide not thy poison with such sugared words.
 Lay not thy hands on me. Forbear, I say!
 Their touch affrights me as a serpent’s sting.
50 Thou baleful messenger, out of my sight!
 Upon thy eyeballs, murderous Tyranny
 Sits in grim majesty to fright the world.
 Look not upon me, for thine eyes are wounding.
 Yet do not go away. Come, basilisk,
55 And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight;
 For in the shade of death I shall find joy,
 In life but double death, now Gloucester’s dead.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Why do you rate my lord of Suffolk thus?
 Although the Duke was enemy to him,
60 Yet he most Christian-like laments his death.
 And for myself, foe as he was to me,
 Might liquid tears or heart-offending groans
 Or blood-consuming sighs recall his life,
 I would be blind with weeping, sick with groans,

133
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

65 Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking sighs,
 And all to have the noble duke alive.
 What know I how the world may deem of me?
 For it is known we were but hollow friends.
 It may be judged I made the Duke away;
70 So shall my name with slander’s tongue be wounded
 And princes’ courts be filled with my reproach.
 This get I by his death. Ay me, unhappy,
 To be a queen and crowned with infamy!
KING HENRY 
 Ah, woe is me for Gloucester, wretched man!
QUEEN MARGARET 
75 Be woe for me, more wretched than he is.
 What, dost thou turn away and hide thy face?
 I am no loathsome leper. Look on me.
 What, art thou, like the adder, waxen deaf?
 Be poisonous too, and kill thy forlorn queen.
80 Is all thy comfort shut in Gloucester’s tomb?
 Why, then, Dame Margaret was ne’er thy joy.
 Erect his statue and worship it,
 And make my image but an alehouse sign.
 Was I for this nigh-wracked upon the sea
85 And twice by awkward wind from England’s bank
 Drove back again unto my native clime?
 What boded this, but well forewarning wind
 Did seem to say “Seek not a scorpion’s nest,
 Nor set no footing on this unkind shore”?
90 What did I then but cursed the gentle gusts
 And he that loosed them forth their brazen caves
 And bid them blow towards England’s blessèd shore
 Or turn our stern upon a dreadful rock?
 Yet Aeolus would not be a murderer,
95 But left that hateful office unto thee.
 The pretty-vaulting sea refused to drown me,
 Knowing that thou wouldst have me drowned on
 shore

135
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 With tears as salt as sea, through thy unkindness.
100 The splitting rocks cow’red in the sinking sands
 And would not dash me with their ragged sides
 Because thy flinty heart, more hard than they,
 Might in thy palace perish Margaret.
 As far as I could ken thy chalky cliffs,
105 When from thy shore the tempest beat us back,
 I stood upon the hatches in the storm,
 And when the dusky sky began to rob
 My earnest-gaping sight of thy land’s view,
 I took a costly jewel from my neck—
110 A heart it was, bound in with diamonds—
 And threw it towards thy land. The sea received it,
 And so I wished thy body might my heart.
 And even with this I lost fair England’s view,
 And bid mine eyes be packing with my heart,
115 And called them blind and dusky spectacles
 For losing ken of Albion’s wishèd coast.
 How often have I tempted Suffolk’s tongue,
 The agent of thy foul inconstancy,
 To sit and watch me, as Ascanius did
120 When he to madding Dido would unfold
 His father’s acts commenced in burning Troy!
 Am I not witched like her, or thou not false like
 him?
 Ay me, I can no more. Die, Margaret,
125 For Henry weeps that thou dost live so long.

Noise within. Enter Warwick and Salisbury,
and many Commons.


WARWICK 
 It is reported, mighty sovereign,
 That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murdered
 By Suffolk and the Cardinal Beaufort’s means.
 The Commons, like an angry hive of bees
130 That want their leader, scatter up and down

137
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 And care not who they sting in his revenge.
 Myself have calmed their spleenful mutiny,
 Until they hear the order of his death.
KING HENRY 
 That he is dead, good Warwick, ’tis too true;
135 But how he died God knows, not Henry.
 Enter his chamber, view his breathless corpse,
 And comment then upon his sudden death.
WARWICK 
 That shall I do, my liege.—Stay, Salisbury,
 With the rude multitude till I return.
Warwick exits through one door; Salisbury and
Commons exit through another.

KING HENRY 
140 O Thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts,
 My thoughts that labor to persuade my soul
 Some violent hands were laid on Humphrey’s life.
 If my suspect be false, forgive me, God,
 For judgment only doth belong to Thee.
145 Fain would I go to chafe his paly lips
 With twenty thousand kisses, and to drain
 Upon his face an ocean of salt tears,
 To tell my love unto his dumb deaf trunk
 And with my fingers feel his hand unfeeling;
150 But all in vain are these mean obsequies.
 And to survey his dead and earthy image,
 What were it but to make my sorrow greater?

Bed put forth, bearing Gloucester’s body.
Enter Warwick.


WARWICK 
 Come hither, gracious sovereign. View this body.
KING HENRY 
 That is to see how deep my grave is made,
155 For with his soul fled all my worldly solace;
 For seeing him, I see my life in death.

139
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

WARWICK 
 As surely as my soul intends to live
 With that dread King that took our state upon Him
 To free us from His Father’s wrathful curse,
160 I do believe that violent hands were laid
 Upon the life of this thrice-famèd duke.
SUFFOLK 
 A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue!
 What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?
WARWICK 
 See how the blood is settled in his face.
165 Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost,
 Of ashy semblance, meager, pale, and bloodless,
 Being all descended to the laboring heart,
 Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
 Attracts the same for aidance ’gainst the enemy,
170 Which with the heart there cools and ne’er
 returneth
 To blush and beautify the cheek again.
 But see, his face is black and full of blood;
 His eyeballs further out than when he lived,
175 Staring full ghastly, like a strangled man;
 His hair upreared, his nostrils stretched with
 struggling;
 His hands abroad displayed, as one that grasped
 And tugged for life and was by strength subdued.
180 Look, on the sheets his hair, you see, is sticking;
 His well-proportioned beard made rough and
 rugged,
 Like to the summer’s corn by tempest lodged.
 It cannot be but he was murdered here.
185 The least of all these signs were probable.
The bed is removed.
SUFFOLK 
 Why, Warwick, who should do the Duke to death?

141
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Myself and Beaufort had him in protection,
 And we, I hope, sir, are no murderers.
WARWICK 
 But both of you were vowed Duke Humphrey’s foes,
190 To Cardinal. And you, forsooth, had the good duke
 to keep.
 ’Tis like you would not feast him like a friend,
 And ’tis well seen he found an enemy.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Then you, belike, suspect these noblemen
195 As guilty of Duke Humphrey’s timeless death.
WARWICK 
 Who finds the heifer dead and bleeding fresh,
 And sees fast by a butcher with an ax,
 But will suspect ’twas he that made the slaughter?
 Who finds the partridge in the puttock’s nest
200 But may imagine how the bird was dead,
 Although the kite soar with unbloodied beak?
 Even so suspicious is this tragedy.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Are you the butcher, Suffolk? Where’s your knife?
 Is Beaufort termed a kite? Where are his talons?
SUFFOLK 
205 I wear no knife to slaughter sleeping men,
 But here’s a vengeful sword, rusted with ease,
 That shall be scoured in his rancorous heart
 That slanders me with murder’s crimson badge.—
 Say, if thou dar’st, proud lord of Warwickshire,
210 That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey’s death.
WARWICK 
 What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?
QUEEN MARGARET 
 He dares not calm his contumelious spirit
 Nor cease to be an arrogant controller,
 Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.

143
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

WARWICK 
215 Madam, be still—with reverence may I say—
 For every word you speak in his behalf
 Is slander to your royal dignity.
SUFFOLK 
 Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanor!
 If ever lady wronged her lord so much,
220 Thy mother took into her blameful bed
 Some stern untutored churl, and noble stock
 Was graft with crab-tree slip, whose fruit thou art
 And never of the Nevilles’ noble race.
WARWICK 
 But that the guilt of murder bucklers thee
225 And I should rob the deathsman of his fee,
 Quitting thee thereby of ten thousand shames,
 And that my sovereign’s presence makes me mild,
 I would, false murd’rous coward, on thy knee
 Make thee beg pardon for thy passèd speech
230 And say it was thy mother that thou meant’st,
 That thou thyself wast born in bastardy;
 And after all this fearful homage done,
 Give thee thy hire and send thy soul to hell,
 Pernicious bloodsucker of sleeping men!
SUFFOLK 
235 Thou shalt be waking while I shed thy blood,
 If from this presence thou dar’st go with me.
WARWICK 
 Away even now, or I will drag thee hence!
 Unworthy though thou art, I’ll cope with thee
 And do some service to Duke Humphrey’s ghost.
Warwick and Suffolk exit.
KING HENRY 
240 What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted?
 Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
 And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
 Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

145
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

A noise within.
QUEEN MARGARET What noise is this?

Enter Suffolk and Warwick, with their weapons drawn.

KING HENRY 
245 Why, how now, lords? Your wrathful weapons
 drawn
 Here in our presence? Dare you be so bold?
 Why, what tumultuous clamor have we here?
SUFFOLK 
 The trait’rous Warwick, with the men of Bury,
250 Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.

Enter Salisbury.

SALISBURY, to the offstage Commons 
 Sirs, stand apart. The King shall know your mind.—
 Dread lord, the Commons send you word by me,
 Unless Lord Suffolk straight be done to death
 Or banishèd fair England’s territories,
255 They will by violence tear him from your palace
 And torture him with grievous ling’ring death.
 They say, by him the good duke Humphrey died;
 They say, in him they fear your Highness’ death;
 And mere instinct of love and loyalty,
260 Free from a stubborn opposite intent,
 As being thought to contradict your liking,
 Makes them thus forward in his banishment.
 They say, in care of your most royal person,
 That if your Highness should intend to sleep,
265 And charge that no man should disturb your rest,
 In pain of your dislike or pain of death,
 Yet, notwithstanding such a strait edict,
 Were there a serpent seen with forkèd tongue
 That slyly glided towards your Majesty,
270 It were but necessary you were waked,
 Lest, being suffered in that harmful slumber,

147
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 The mortal worm might make the sleep eternal.
 And therefore do they cry, though you forbid,
 That they will guard you, whe’er you will or no,
275 From such fell serpents as false Suffolk is,
 With whose envenomèd and fatal sting
 Your loving uncle, twenty times his worth,
 They say, is shamefully bereft of life.
COMMONS, within 
 An answer from the King, my lord of Salisbury!
SUFFOLK 
280 ’Tis like the Commons, rude unpolished hinds,
 Could send such message to their sovereign!
 To Salisbury. But you, my lord, were glad to be
 employed,
 To show how quaint an orator you are.
285 But all the honor Salisbury hath won
 Is that he was the lord ambassador
 Sent from a sort of tinkers to the King.
COMMONS, within 
 An answer from the King, or we will all break in.
KING HENRY 
 Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me,
290 I thank them for their tender loving care;
 And, had I not been cited so by them,
 Yet did I purpose as they do entreat.
 For, sure, my thoughts do hourly prophesy
 Mischance unto my state by Suffolk’s means.
295 And therefore, by His Majesty I swear,
 Whose far unworthy deputy I am,
 He shall not breathe infection in this air
 But three days longer, on the pain of death.
Salisbury exits.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 O Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk!
KING HENRY 
300 Ungentle queen to call him gentle Suffolk!

149
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 No more, I say. If thou dost plead for him,
 Thou wilt but add increase unto my wrath.
 Had I but said, I would have kept my word;
 But when I swear, it is irrevocable.
305 To Suffolk. If, after three days’ space, thou here
 be’st found
 On any ground that I am ruler of,
 The world shall not be ransom for thy life.—
 Come, Warwick, come, good Warwick, go with me.
310 I have great matters to impart to thee.
All but the Queen and Suffolk exit.
QUEEN MARGARET, calling after King Henry and
 Warwick
 
 Mischance and sorrow go along with you!
 Heart’s discontent and sour affliction
 Be playfellows to keep you company!
 There’s two of you; the devil make a third,
315 And threefold vengeance tend upon your steps!
SUFFOLK 
 Cease, gentle queen, these execrations,
 And let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Fie, coward woman and soft-hearted wretch!
 Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemies?
SUFFOLK 
320 A plague upon them! Wherefore should I curse
 them?
 Could curses kill, as doth the mandrake’s groan,
 I would invent as bitter searching terms,
 As curst, as harsh, and horrible to hear,
325 Delivered strongly through my fixèd teeth,
 With full as many signs of deadly hate,
 As lean-faced Envy in her loathsome cave.
 My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words;
 Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint;
330 Mine hair be fixed on end, as one distract;

151
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban;
 And even now my burdened heart would break
 Should I not curse them. Poison be their drink!
 Gall, worse than gall, the daintiest that they taste;
335 Their sweetest shade, a grove of cypress trees;
 Their chiefest prospect, murd’ring basilisks;
 Their softest touch, as smart as lizards’ stings!
 Their music, frightful as the serpent’s hiss,
 And boding screech owls make the consort full!
340 All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell—
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Enough, sweet Suffolk, thou torment’st thyself,
 And these dread curses, like the sun ’gainst glass,
 Or like an over-chargèd gun, recoil
 And turn the force of them upon thyself.
SUFFOLK 
345 You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave?
 Now, by the ground that I am banished from,
 Well could I curse away a winter’s night,
 Though standing naked on a mountain top
 Where biting cold would never let grass grow,
350 And think it but a minute spent in sport.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 O, let me entreat thee cease! Give me thy hand,
 That I may dew it with my mournful tears;
 Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place
 To wash away my woeful monuments.
She kisses his hand.
355 O, could this kiss be printed in thy hand,
 That thou mightst think upon these by the seal,
 Through whom a thousand sighs are breathed for
 thee!
 So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief;
360 ’Tis but surmised whiles thou art standing by,
 As one that surfeits thinking on a want.
 I will repeal thee, or, be well assured,

153
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Adventure to be banishèd myself;
 And banishèd I am, if but from thee.
365 Go, speak not to me. Even now be gone!
 O, go not yet! Even thus two friends condemned
 Embrace and kiss and take ten thousand leaves,
 Loather a hundred times to part than die.
They embrace.
 Yet now farewell, and farewell life with thee.
SUFFOLK 
370 Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banishèd,
 Once by the King, and three times thrice by thee.
 ’Tis not the land I care for, wert thou thence.
 A wilderness is populous enough,
 So Suffolk had thy heavenly company;
375 For where thou art, there is the world itself,
 With every several pleasure in the world;
 And where thou art not, desolation.
 I can no more. Live thou to joy thy life;
 Myself no joy in naught but that thou liv’st.

Enter Vaux.

QUEEN MARGARET 
380 Whither goes Vaux so fast? What news, I prithee?
VAUX To signify unto his Majesty,
 That Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death;
 For suddenly a grievous sickness took him
 That makes him gasp and stare and catch the air,
385 Blaspheming God and cursing men on Earth.
 Sometimes he talks as if Duke Humphrey’s ghost
 Were by his side; sometimes he calls the King
 And whispers to his pillow, as to him,
 The secrets of his overchargèd soul.
390 And I am sent to tell his Majesty
 That even now he cries aloud for him.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Go, tell this heavy message to the King.Vaux exits.

155
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Ay me! What is this world? What news are these!
 But wherefore grieve I at an hour’s poor loss,
395 Omitting Suffolk’s exile, my soul’s treasure?
 Why only, Suffolk, mourn I not for thee,
 And with the southern clouds contend in tears—
 Theirs for the earth’s increase, mine for my
 sorrows’?
400 Now get thee hence. The King, thou know’st, is
 coming;
 If thou be found by me, thou art but dead.
SUFFOLK 
 If I depart from thee, I cannot live;
 And in thy sight to die, what were it else
405 But like a pleasant slumber in thy lap?
 Here could I breathe my soul into the air,
 As mild and gentle as the cradle babe
 Dying with mother’s dug between its lips;
 Where, from thy sight, I should be raging mad
410 And cry out for thee to close up mine eyes,
 To have thee with thy lips to stop my mouth.
 So shouldst thou either turn my flying soul,
 Or I should breathe it so into thy body,
 And then it lived in sweet Elysium.
415 To die by thee were but to die in jest;
 From thee to die were torture more than death.
 O, let me stay, befall what may befall!
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Away! Though parting be a fretful corrosive,
 It is applièd to a deathful wound.
420 To France, sweet Suffolk. Let me hear from thee,
 For wheresoe’er thou art in this world’s globe,
 I’ll have an Iris that shall find thee out.
SUFFOLK I go.
QUEEN MARGARET And take my heart with thee.
SUFFOLK 
425 A jewel locked into the woefull’st cask

157
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 3. SC. 3

 That ever did contain a thing of worth!
 Even as a splitted bark, so sunder we.
 This way fall I to death.
QUEEN MARGARET  This way for me.
They exit through different doors.