« PreviousContinue »
Thy deeds, thy plainness, and thy house-keeping,
Hath won the greatest favour of the commons,
Excepting none but good duke Humphrey.-
And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland,
In bringing them to civil discipline;
Thy late exploits, done in the heart of France,
When thou wert regent for our sovereign,
Have made thee fear'd, and honour'd, of the people :-
Join we together, for the public good;
In what we can to bridle and suppress
The pride of Suffolk, and the cardinal,
With Somerset's and Buckingham's ambition;
And, as we may, cherish duke Humphrey's deeds,
While they'do tend the profit of the land.
War. So God help Warwick, as he loves the land, And common profit of his country!
York. And so says York, for he hath greatest cause. Sal. Then let's make haste away, and look unto the
main. War. Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost; That Maine, which by main force Warwick did win, And would have kept, so long as breath did last: Main chance, father, you meant; but I meant Maine; Which I will win from France, or else be slain.
[Exeunt WARWICK and Salisbury. York. Anjou and Maine are given to the French; Paris is lost; the state of Normandy Stands on a tickle point, now they are gone: Suffolk concluded on the articles; The peers agreed; and Henry was well pleas’d, To change two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter. I cannot blame them all; What is't to them?
'Tis thine they give away, and not their own.
Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage,
And purchase friends, and give to courtezans,
Still revelling, like lords, till all be gone:
While as the silly owner of the goods
Weeps over them, and wrings his hapless hands,
And shakes his head, and trembling stands aloof,
While all is shar'd, and all is borne away;
Ready to starve, and dare not touch his own.
So York must sit, and fret, and bite his tongue,
While his own lands are bargain’d for, and sold.
Methinks, the realms of England, France, and Ireland,
Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood,
As did the fatal brand Althea burn'd,
Unto the prince's heart of Calydon.
Anjou and Maine, both given unto the French!
Cold news for me; for I had hope of France,
Even as I have of fertile England's soil.
A day will come, when York shall claim his own;
And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts,
And make a show of love to proud duke Humphrey ;
And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
For that's the golden mark I seek to hit:
Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right,
Nor hold his sceptre in his childish fist,
Nor wear the diadem upon his head,
Whose church-like humours fit not for a crown.
Then, York, be still awhile, till time do serve:
Watch thou, and wake, when others be asleep,
into the secrets of the state ;
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,
With his new bride, and England's dear-bought queen,
And Humphrey with the peers be fallin at jars :
Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum'd;
And in my standard bear the arms of York,
To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown,
Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.
SCENE II.— The same. A Room in the Duke of Glos
Enter GLOSTER and the Duchess. Duch. Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd corn, Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load? Why doth the great duke Humphrey knit his brows, As frowning at the favours of the world? Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth, Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight? What see'st thou there? king Henry's diadem, Enchas'd with all the honours of the world? If so, gaze on, and grovel on thy face, Until thy head be circled with the same. Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold : What, is't too short? I'll lengthen it with mine : And, having both together heav'd it up, We'll both together lift our heads to heaven ; And never more abase our sight so low, As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
Glo. O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord, Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts : And may that thought, when I imagine ill
Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
My troublous dream this night doth make me sad.
Duch. What dream'd my lord ? tell me, and I'll re-
With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream.
Glo. Methought, this staff, mine office-badge in court, Was broke in twain; by whom, I have forgot, But, as I think, it was by the cardinal; And on the pieces of the broken wand Were plac'd the heads of Edmond duke of Somerset, And William de la Poole first duke of Suffolk. This was my dream ; what it doth bode, God knows.
Duch. Tut, this was nothing but an argument,
That he that breaks a stick of Gloster’s grove,
Shall lose his head for his presumption.
But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
Methought, I sat in seat of majesty,
In the cathedral church of Westminster,
And in that chair where kings and queens are crown'd;
Where Henry, and dame Margaret, kneeld to me,
And on my head did set the diadem.
Glo. Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright:
Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtur'd Eleanor !
Art thou not second woman in the realm ;
And the protector's wife, belov'd of him?
Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
And wilt thou still be hammering treachery,
To tumble down thy husband, and thyself,
From top of honour to disgrace's feet ?
Away from me, and let me hear no more.
Duch. What, what, my lord! are you so cholerick With Eleanor, for telling but her dream? Next time, I'll keep my dreams unto myself, And not be check'd.
Glo. Nay, be not angry, I am pleas'd again.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord protector, 'tis his highness' pleasure,
You do prepare to ride unto Saint Albans,
Whereas the king and queen do mean to hawk.
Glo. I go.—Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us!
Duch. Yes, good my lord, I'll follow presently.
[Exeunt Gloster and Messenger.
Follow I must, I cannot go before,
While Gloster bears this base and humble mind.
Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
I would remove these tedious stumbling blocks,
And smooth my way upon their headless necks :
And, being a woman, I will not be slack
To play my part in fortune's pageant.
Where are you there? Sir John ! nay, fear not, man,
We are alone; here's none but thee, and I.
Enter HUME. Hume. Jesu preserve your royal majesty! Duch. What say'st thou, majesty! I am but grace.
Hume. But, by the grace of God, and Hume's advice, Your grace's title shall be multiplied. Duch. What say'st thou, man? hast thou as yet con
ferr'd With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch; And Roger Boling broke, the conjuror?