List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 4, scene 7

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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 7
Alarums. Matthew Gough is slain, and all the rest.
Then enter Jack Cade with his company.


CADE So, sirs. Now go some and pull down the Savoy;
 others to th’ Inns of Court. Down with them all!
DICK I have a suit unto your Lordship.
CADE Be it a lordship, thou shalt have it for that word.
DICK 5Only that the laws of England may come out of
 your mouth.
HOLLAND, aside Mass, ’twill be sore law, then, for he
 was thrust in the mouth with a spear, and ’tis not
 whole yet.
SMITH, aside 10Nay, John, it will be stinking law, for
 his breath stinks with eating toasted cheese.
CADE I have thought upon it; it shall be so. Away!
 Burn all the records of the realm. My mouth shall
 be the Parliament of England.
HOLLAND, aside 15Then we are like to have biting
 statutes—unless his teeth be pulled out.
CADE And henceforward all things shall be in
 common.

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER My lord, a prize, a prize! Here’s the Lord
20 Saye, which sold the towns in France, he that
 made us pay one-and-twenty fifteens, and one
 shilling to the pound, the last subsidy.

Enter George with the Lord Saye.

CADE Well, he shall be beheaded for it ten times.—Ah,
 thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord, now
25 art thou within point-blank of our jurisdiction
 regal. What canst thou answer to my Majesty for
 giving up of Normandy unto Monsieur Basimecu,
 the Dauphin of France? Be it known unto thee by

199
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 7

 these presence, even the presence of Lord Mortimer,
30 that I am the besom that must sweep the
 court clean of such filth as thou art. Thou hast
 most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm
 in erecting a grammar school; and whereas,
 before, our forefathers had no other books but the
35 score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be
 used, and, contrary to the King his crown and dignity,
 thou hast built a paper mill. It will be proved
 to thy face that thou hast men about thee that usually
 talk of a noun and a verb and such abominable
40 words as no Christian ear can endure to hear.
 Thou hast appointed justices of peace to call poor
 men before them about matters they were not able
 to answer. Moreover, thou hast put them in prison;
 and, because they could not read, thou hast
45 hanged them, when indeed only for that cause
 they have been most worthy to live. Thou dost ride
 on a footcloth, dost thou not?
SAYE What of that?
CADE Marry, thou oughtst not to let thy horse wear a
50 cloak when honester men than thou go in their
 hose and doublets.
DICK And work in their shirt too—as myself, for example,
 that am a butcher.
SAYE You men of Kent—
DICK 55What say you of Kent?
SAYE Nothing but this: ’tis bona terra, mala gens.
CADE Away with him, away with him! He speaks
 Latin.
SAYE 
 Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
60 Kent, in the commentaries Caesar writ,
 Is termed the civil’st place of all this isle.
 Sweet is the country, because full of riches;
 The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy;

201
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 7

 Which makes me hope you are not void of pity.
65 I sold not Maine; I lost not Normandy;
 Yet to recover them would lose my life.
 Justice with favor have I always done;
 Prayers and tears have moved me; gifts could never.
 When have I aught exacted at your hands
70 Kent to maintain, the King, the realm, and you?
 Large gifts have I bestowed on learnèd clerks,
 Because my book preferred me to the King.
 And seeing ignorance is the curse of God,
 Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,
75 Unless you be possessed with devilish spirits,
 You cannot but forbear to murder me.
 This tongue hath parleyed unto foreign kings
 For your behoof—
CADE Tut, when struck’st thou one blow in the field?
SAYE 
80 Great men have reaching hands. Oft have I struck
 Those that I never saw, and struck them dead.
GEORGE O monstrous coward! What, to come behind
 folks?
SAYE 
 These cheeks are pale for watching for your good.
CADE 85Give him a box o’ th’ ear, and that will make ’em
 red again.
SAYE 
 Long sitting to determine poor men’s causes
 Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.
CADE You shall have a hempen caudle, then, and
90 the help of hatchet.
DICK Why dost thou quiver, man?
SAYE The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.
CADE Nay, he nods at us, as who should say “I’ll be
 even with you.” I’ll see if his head will stand steadier
95 on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead
 him.

203
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 7

SAYE 
 Tell me, wherein have I offended most?
 Have I affected wealth or honor? Speak.
 Are my chests filled up with extorted gold?
100 Is my apparel sumptuous to behold?
 Whom have I injured, that you seek my death?
 These hands are free from guiltless blood-shedding,
 This breast from harboring foul deceitful thoughts.
 O, let me live!
CADE 105I feel remorse in myself with his words, but I’ll
 bridle it. He shall die, an it be but for pleading so
 well for his life. Away with him! He has a familiar
 under his tongue; he speaks not i’ God’s name. Go,
 take him away, I say, and strike off his head
110 presently; and then break into his son-in-law’s
 house, Sir James Cromer, and strike off his head;
 and bring them both upon two poles hither.
ALL It shall be done.
SAYE 
 Ah, countrymen, if when you make your prayers,
115 God should be so obdurate as yourselves,
 How would it fare with your departed souls?
 And therefore yet relent, and save my life.
CADE Away with him, and do as I command you.
Some exit with Lord Saye.
 The proudest peer in the realm shall not wear a
120 head on his shoulders unless he pay me tribute.
 There shall not a maid be married but she shall
 pay to me her maidenhead ere they have it. Men
 shall hold of me in capite; and we charge and command
 that their wives be as free as heart can wish
125 or tongue can tell.
DICK My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take
 up commodities upon our bills?
CADE Marry, presently.
ALL O, brave!

205
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 8

Enter one with the heads of Lord Saye and Sir James
Cromer on poles.


CADE 130But is not this braver? Let them kiss one another,
 for they loved well when they were alive. The
 heads are brought together. 
Now part them again,
 lest they consult about the giving up of some more
 towns in France. Soldiers, defer the spoil of the
135 city until night, for, with these borne before us
 instead of maces, will we ride through the streets
 and at every corner have them kiss. Away!
He exits with his company.