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* 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. Suff. Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here, * With ignominious words, though clerkly couched, * As if she had suborned some to swear ‘False allegations to o'erthrow his state P * Q. Mar. But I can give the loser leave to chide. Glo. Far truer spoke than meant: I lose indeed;— * Beshrew the winners, for they played me false! *And well such losers may have leave to speak. Buck. He'll wrest the sense, and hold us here all day.— Lord enol he is your prisoner. - * Car. Sirs, take away the duke, and guard him SUIT6. Glo. Ah, thus king Henry throws away his crutch, 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. [Eveunt Attendants, with GLoSTER. K. Hen. My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best, . Do, or undo, as if ourself were here. - Q. Mar. What, will your highness leave the parlia* ment? K. Hen. Ay, Margaret; my heart is drowned with grief, *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 * The map of honor, truth, and loyalty *And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come, * That e'er I proved thee false, or feared thy faith. *What lowering star now envies thy estate,
* That these great lords, and Margaret our queen, * Do seek subversion of thy harmless life P * 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 way her harmless young one went, *And can do nought but wail her darling's loss, * Even so myself bewails good Gloster's case, *With sad, unhelpful tears; and with dimmed 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, Gloster he is none. [Ea.it. Q. Mar. 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 Gloster’s show * Beguiles him, as the mournful crocodile * With sorrow snares relenting passengers; * Or as the snake, rolled in a flowering bank, *With shining, checkered slough, doth sting a child, * That, for the beauty, thinks it excellent. * Believe me, lords, were none more wise than I, * (And yet, herein, I judge mine own wit good,) ‘This Gloster 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 color for his death: * "Tis meet he be condemned by course of law. * Suff. But, in my mind, that were no policy; * The king will labor still to save his life; * The commons haply rise to save his life;
1 Warburton thinks that by “free lords” Margaret means “you who are not bound up to such precise regards of religion as is the king; but are men of the world, and know how to live.” It has been shown that free meant pure, chaste, and consequently virtuous. This may be the meaning here; unless the reader would rather believe that it means free-born, noble, which was the sense of its Saxon original.
* 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. * Suff. 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, *Wer’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 P Q. Mar. So the poor chicken should be sure of death. * Suff. Madam, 'tis true; and wer’t not madness, then, “To make the fox surveyor of the fold P ‘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 stained 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. * Q. Mar. Thrice-noble Suffolk, 'tis resolutely spoke. * Suff. 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.”
1 York had more reason for desiring Humphrey's death, because he stood between him and the crown, which he had proposed to himself in nis ambitious views. 2 i.e. confounds, overcomes. 3 That is, “I will be the attendant on his last scene; I will be the last man whom he shall see.”
* Car. But I would have him dead, my lord of - Suffolk, * 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. * Suff. Here is my hand; the deed is worthy doing. * Q. Mar. And so say I. * York. And I; and now we three have spoke it, *It skills not greatly” who impugns our doom.
Enter a Messenger.
* Mess. Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain, “To signify—that rebels there are up, ‘And put the Englishmen unto the sword: * Send succors, lords, and stop the rage betime, * Before the wound do grow incurable; * For, being green, there is great hope of help. * Car. A breach, that craves a quick, expedient” stop ! & What conti give you in this weighty cause P * York. That Somerset be sent as regent thither: ‘’Tis meet, that lucky ruler be employed; * Witness the fortune he hath had in France. • Som. If York, with all his far-fet” policy, * Had been the regent there instead of me, • He never would have staid in France so long. * York. No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done. * I rather would have lost my life betimes, *Than bring a burden of dishonor home, *By staying there so long, till all were lost. * Show me one scar charáctered on thy skin; * Men's flesh preserved so whole, do seldom win. * Q. Mar. Nay, then, this spark will prove a raging fire, ; * If wind and fuel be brought to feed it with:—
1 i.e. judge or think well of it. 2 “It matters not greatly.” 3 Expeditious. 4 Far-fetched.
*No more, good York:-sweet Somerset, be still:— * Thy fortune, York, hadst thou been regent there, * Might happily have proved far worse than his. York. What, worse than naught? may, then a shame . take all ! * Som. And in the number, thee, that wishest shame! ‘Car. My lord of York, try what your fortune is. * The uncivil kernes of Ireland are in arms, ‘And temper clay with blood of Englishmen; * To Ireland will you lead a band of men, * Collected choicely, from each county some, “And try your hap against the Irishmen P * York. I will, my lord, so please his majesty. * Suff. Why, our authority is his consent; * And what we do establish, he confirms: . * Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand. . * York. I am content. Provide me soldiers, lords, * Whiles I take order for mime own affairs. * Suff. A charge, lord York, that I will see performed. “But now return we to the false duke Humphrey. * Car. No more of him ; for I will deal with him, * That, henceforth, he shall trouble us no more. “And so break off; the day is almost spent: * Lord Suffolk, you and I must talk of that event. * York. My lord of Suffolk, within fourteen days, * At Bristol I expect my soldiers; - • For there I’ll ship them all for Ireland. Suff. I’ll see it truly done, my lord of York. . . - [Eveunt all but York. • York. Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts, . * And change misdoubt to resolution. * Be that thou hop'st to be ; or what thou art * Resign to death; it is not worth the enjoying. * Let pale-faced fear keep with the mean-born man, * And find no harbor in a royal heart. *Faster than spring-time showers, comes thought on thought; *And not a thought, but thinks on dignity. *My brain, more busy than the laboring spider,