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my life,

I know their complot is to have
And if my death might make this island happy

prove the period of their tyranny,
I would expend it with all willingness :
But mine is made the prologue to their play ;
For thousands more, that yet suspect no peril,
Will not conclude their plotted tragedy.
Beaufort's red sparkling eyes blab his heart's malice,
And Suffolk's cloudy brow his stormy hate;
Sharp Buckingham unburthens with his tongue
The envious load that lies


his heart;
And dogged York, that reaches at the moon,
Whose overweening arm I have pluck'd back,
By false accuse doth level at my life :
And you, my sovereign lady, with the rest,
Causeless have laid disgraces on my head
And with your best endeavour have stirr'd up
My liefest liege to be mine enemy:
Ay, all of

have laid


heads together-
Myself had notice of your conventicles-
And all to make away my guiltless life.
I shall not want false witness to condemn me,
Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt;
The ancient proverb will be well effected :
A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.

Car. My liege, his railing is intolerable:
If those that care to keep your royal person
From treason's secret knife and traitors' rage
Be thus upbraided, chid and rated at,
And the offender granted scope of speech,

'Twill make them cool in zeal unto your grace.

Suf. Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here With ignominious words, though clerkly couch’d, As if she had suborned some to swear False allegations to o’erthrow his state?

QUEEN. But I can give the loser leave to chide.

Glov. Far truer spoke than meant: I lose, indeed; Beshrew the winners, for they play'd me false ! And well such losers may have leave to speak. Buck. He'll wrest the sense and hold us here

all day: Lord cardinal, he is your prisoner.

Car. Sirs, take away the duke, and guard him sure.

Glou. Ah! thus King Henry throws away hiscrutch Before his legs be firm to bear his body. Thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side And wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first. Ah, that my fear were false ! ah, that it were ! For, good King Henry, thy decay I fear.

[Erit, guarded. KING. My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth

best, Do or undo, as if ourself were here. QUEEN. What, will your highness leave the

KING. Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown'd with

Whose flood begins to flow within mine eyes,
My body round engirt with misery,
For what's more miserable than discontent?
Ah, uncle Humphrey ! in thy face I see


map of honour, truth and loyalty : And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come That e'er I prov'd thee false or fear'd thy faith. What louring star now envies thy estate, That these great lords and Margaret our queen Do seek subversion of thy harmless life? Thou never didst them wrong nor no man wrong ; And as the butcher takes away the calf And binds the wretch and beats it when it strays, Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house, Even so remorseless have they borne him hence; And as the dam runs lowing up and down, Looking the


her harmless young one went, And can do nought but wail her darling's loss, Even so myself bewails good Gloucester's case With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimm'd eyes Look after him and cannot do him good, So mighty are his vowed enemies. His fortunes I will weep and 'twixt each groan Say Who's a traitor ? Gloucester he is none.


SUFFOLK, and YORK; SOMERSET remains apart. QUEEN. Free lords, cold snow melts with the

sun's hot beams. Henry my lord is cold in great affairs, Too full of foolish pity, and Gloucester's show Beguiles him as the mournful crocodile With sorrow snares relenting passengers, Qr as the snake roll'd in a flowering bank, With shining checker’d slough, doth sting a child That for the beauty thinks it excellent.

Believe me, lords, were none more wise than IAnd yet herein I judge mine own wit goodThis Gloucester should be quickly rid the world, To rid us from the fear we have of him.

Car. That he should die is worthy policy; But yet we want a colour for his death : 'Tis meet he be condemn'd by course of law.

Sur. But, in my mind, that were no policy: The king will labour still to save his life, The commons haply rise, to save his life ; And yet we have but trivial argument, More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death. YORK. So that, by this, you would not have him

die. Suf. Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I ! YORK.. 'Tis York that hath more reason for his

death. But, my lord cardinal, and you, my Lord of Suffolk, Say as you think, and speak it from your souls, Were't not all one, an empty eagle were set To guard the chicken from a hungry kite, As place Duke Humphrey for the king's protector? QUEEN. So the poor chicken should be sure of

death. Suf. Madam, 'tis true; and were't not madness,

To make the fox surveyor of the fold?
Who being accused a crafty murderer,
His guilt should be but idly posted over,
Because his purpose is not executed.

No; let him die, in that he is a fox,
By nature proved an enemy to the flock,
Before his chaps be stain'd with crimson blood,
As Humphrey, proved by reasons, to my liege.
And do not stand on quillets how to slay him :
Be it by gins, by snares, by subtlety,
Sleeping or waking, 'tis no matter how,
So he be dead : for that is good deceit
Which mates him first that first intends deceit.
QUEEN. Thrice-noble Suffolk, 'tis resolutely

Sur. Not resolute, except so much were done;
For things are often spoke and seldom meant:
But that my heart accordeth with my tongue,
Seeing the deed is meritorious,
And to preserve my sovereign from his foe,
Say but the word, and I will be his priest.
CAR. But I would have him dead, my Lord of

Ere you can take due orders for a priest :
Say you consent and censure well the deed,
And I'll provide his executioner,
I tender so the safety of my liege.
SUF. Here is


hand, the deed is worthy doing. QUEEN. And so say I.

YORK. And I: and now we three have spoke it, It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.

Enter a Post. Post. Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain, To signify that rebels there are up

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