List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 4, scene 1

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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.

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Scene 1
Alarum. Offstage fight at sea. Ordnance goes off.
Enter Lieutenant, Suffolk, captive and in disguise,
and Others, including a Master, a Master’s Mate,
Walter Whitmore, and Prisoners.


LIEUTENANT 
 The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day
 Is crept into the bosom of the sea,
 And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
 That drag the tragic melancholy night,
5 Who, with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings
 Clip dead men’s graves, and from their misty jaws
 Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
 Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize;
 For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs,
10 Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
 Or with their blood stain this discolored shore.—
 Master, this prisoner freely give I thee.—
 And, thou that art his mate, make boot of this.—
 The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.
Three gentlemen prisoners, including Suffolk,
are handed over.

FIRST GENTLEMAN 
15 What is my ransom, master? Let me know.
163

165
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 1

MASTER 
 A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
MATE, to the Second Gentleman 
 And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.
LIEUTENANT 
 What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
 And bear the name and port of gentlemen?—
20 Cut both the villains’ throats—for die you shall;
 The lives of those which we have lost in fight
 Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!
FIRST GENTLEMAN 
 I’ll give it, sir, and therefore spare my life.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 
 And so will I, and write home for it straight.
WHITMORE, to Suffolk 
25 I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
 And therefore to revenge it shalt thou die;
 And so should these, if I might have my will.
LIEUTENANT 
 Be not so rash. Take ransom; let him live.
SUFFOLK 
 Look on my George; I am a gentleman.
30 Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
WHITMORE 
 And so am I. My name is Walter Whitmore.
Suffolk starts.
 How now, why starts thou? What, doth death
 affright?
SUFFOLK 
 Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
35 A cunning man did calculate my birth
 And told me that by water I should die.
 Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
 Thy name is Gualtier, being rightly sounded.
WHITMORE 
 Gualtier or Walter, which it is, I care not.

167
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 1

40 Never yet did base dishonor blur our name
 But with our sword we wiped away the blot.
 Therefore, when merchantlike I sell revenge,
 Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced,
 And I proclaimed a coward through the world!
SUFFOLK 
45 Stay, Whitmore, for thy prisoner is a prince,
 The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
WHITMORE 
 The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags?
SUFFOLK 
 Ay, but these rags are no part of the Duke.
 Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?
LIEUTENANT 
50 But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
SUFFOLK 
 Obscure and lousy swain, King Henry’s blood,
 The honorable blood of Lancaster,
 Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
 Hast thou not kissed thy hand and held my stirrup?
55 Bareheaded plodded by my footcloth mule,
 And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
 How often hast thou waited at my cup,
 Fed from my trencher, kneeled down at the board,
 When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
60 Remember it, and let it make thee crestfall’n,
 Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride.
 How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
 And duly waited for my coming forth?
 This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
65 And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.
WHITMORE 
 Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?
LIEUTENANT 
 First let my words stab him as he hath me.

169
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 1

SUFFOLK 
 Base slave, thy words are blunt, and so art thou.
LIEUTENANT 
 Convey him hence, and on our longboat’s side,
70 Strike off his head.
SUFFOLK  Thou dar’st not for thy own.
LIEUTENANT 
 Yes, Pole.
SUFFOLK  Pole!
LIEUTENANT  Pole! Sir Pole! Lord!
75 Ay, kennel, puddle, sink, whose filth and dirt
 Troubles the silver spring where England drinks!
 Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
 For swallowing the treasure of the realm.
 Thy lips that kissed the Queen shall sweep the
80 ground,
 And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey’s
 death
 Against the senseless winds shall grin in vain,
 Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again.
85 And wedded be thou to the hags of hell
 For daring to affy a mighty lord
 Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
 Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
 By devilish policy art thou grown great,
90 And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorged
 With gobbets of thy mother’s bleeding heart.
 By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France.
 The false revolting Normans thorough thee
 Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy
95 Hath slain their governors, surprised our forts,
 And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home.
 The princely Warwick, and the Nevilles all,
 Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,
 As hating thee, are rising up in arms.
100 And now the house of York, thrust from the crown

171
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 1

 By shameful murder of a guiltless king
 And lofty, proud, encroaching tyranny,
 Burns with revenging fire, whose hopeful colors
 Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine,
105 Under the which is writ “Invitis nubibus.”
 The commons here in Kent are up in arms,
 And, to conclude, reproach and beggary
 Is crept into the palace of our king,
 And all by thee.—Away! Convey him hence.
SUFFOLK 
110 O, that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder
 Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges!
 Small things make base men proud. This villain
 here,
 Being captain of a pinnace, threatens more
115 Than Bargulus, the strong Illyrian pirate.
 Drones suck not eagles’ blood, but rob beehives.
 It is impossible that I should die
 By such a lowly vassal as thyself.
 Thy words move rage and not remorse in me.
120 I go of message from the Queen to France.
 I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.
LIEUTENANT Walter.
WHITMORE 
 Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.
SUFFOLK 
 Paene gelidus timor occupat artus.
125 It is thee I fear.
WHITMORE 
 Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
 What, are you daunted now? Now will you stoop?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 
 My gracious lord, entreat him; speak him fair.
SUFFOLK 
 Suffolk’s imperial tongue is stern and rough,
130 Used to command, untaught to plead for favor.

173
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Far be it we should honor such as these
 With humble suit. No, rather let my head
 Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
 Save to the God of heaven and to my king;
135 And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
 Than stand uncovered to the vulgar groom.
 True nobility is exempt from fear.—
 More can I bear than you dare execute.
LIEUTENANT 
 Hale him away, and let him talk no more.
SUFFOLK 
140 Come, soldiers, show what cruelty you can,
 That this my death may never be forgot!
 Great men oft die by vile bezonians:
 A Roman sworder and banditto slave
 Murdered sweet Tully; Brutus’ bastard hand
145 Stabbed Julius Caesar; savage islanders
 Pompey the Great, and Suffolk dies by pirates.
Walter Whitmore exits with
Suffolk and Others.

LIEUTENANT 
 And as for these whose ransom we have set,
 It is our pleasure one of them depart.
 To Second Gentleman. Therefore come you with us,
150 and let him go.Lieutenant and the rest exit.
The First Gentleman remains.


Enter Walter Whitmore with the body
and severed head of Suffolk.


WHITMORE 
 There let his head and lifeless body lie,
 Until the Queen his mistress bury it.
Walter Whitmore exits.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 
 O, barbarous and bloody spectacle!
 His body will I bear unto the King.

175
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 2

155 If he revenge it not, yet will his friends.
 So will the Queen, that living held him dear.
He exits with the head and body.