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Home > King Henry VI Part 2 > ACT II - SCENE IV. A street.

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ACT II - SCENE IV. A street.
GLOUCESTER
1    Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;
2    And after summer evermore succeeds
3    Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold:
4    So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
5    Sirs, what's o'clock?
Servants
6    Ten, my lord.
GLOUCESTER
7    Ten is the hour that was appointed me
8    To watch the coming of my punish'd duchess:
9    Uneath may she endure the flinty streets,
10   To tread them with her tender-feeling feet.
11   Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook
12   The abject people gazing on thy face,
13   With envious looks, laughing at thy shame,
14   That erst did follow thy proud chariot-wheels
15   When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.
16   But, soft! I think she comes; and I'll prepare
17   My tear-stain'd eyes to see her miseries.
Servant
18   So please your grace, we'll take her from the sheriff.
GLOUCESTER
19   No, stir not, for your lives; let her pass by.
DUCHESS
20   Come you, my lord, to see my open shame?
21   Now thou dost penance too. Look how they gaze!
22   See how the giddy multitude do point,
23   And nod their heads, and throw their eyes on thee!
24   Ah, Gloucester, hide thee from their hateful looks,
25   And, in thy closet pent up, rue my shame,
26   And ban thine enemies, both mine and thine!
GLOUCESTER
27   Be patient, gentle Nell; forget this grief.
DUCHESS
28   Ah, Gloucester, teach me to forget myself!
29   For whilst I think I am thy married wife
30   And thou a prince, protector of this land,
31   Methinks I should not thus be led along,
32   Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back,
33   And followed with a rabble that rejoice
34   To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
35   The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet,
36   And when I start, the envious people laugh
37   And bid me be advised how I tread.
38   Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?
39   Trow'st thou that e'er I'll look upon the world,
40   Or count them happy that enjoy the sun?
41   No; dark shall be my light and night my day;
42   To think upon my pomp shall be my hell.
43   Sometime I'll say, I am Duke Humphrey's wife,
44   And he a prince and ruler of the land:
45   Yet so he ruled and such a prince he was
46   As he stood by whilst I, his forlorn duchess,
47   Was made a wonder and a pointing-stock
48   To every idle rascal follower.
49   But be thou mild and blush not at my shame,
50   Nor stir at nothing till the axe of death
51   Hang over thee, as, sure, it shortly will;
52   For Suffolk, he that can do all in all
53   With her that hateth thee and hates us all,
54   And York and impious Beaufort, that false priest,
55   Have all limed bushes to betray thy wings,
56   And, fly thou how thou canst, they'll tangle thee:
57   But fear not thou, until thy foot be snared,
58   Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
GLOUCESTER
59   Ah, Nell, forbear! thou aimest all awry;
60   I must offend before I be attainted;
61   And had I twenty times so many foes,
62   And each of them had twenty times their power,
63   All these could not procure me any scathe,
64   So long as I am loyal, true and crimeless.
65   Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?
66   Why, yet thy scandal were not wiped away
67   But I in danger for the breach of law.
68   Thy greatest help is quiet, gentle Nell:
69   I pray thee, sort thy heart to patience;
70   These few days' wonder will be quickly worn.
Enter a Herald

Herald
71   I summon your grace to his majesty's parliament,
72   Holden at Bury the first of this next month.
GLOUCESTER
73   And my consent ne'er ask'd herein before!
74   This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.
Exit Herald
75   My Nell, I take my leave: and, master sheriff,
76   Let not her penance exceed the king's commission.
Sheriff
77   An't please your grace, here my commission stays,
78   And Sir John Stanley is appointed now
79   To take her with him to the Isle of Man.
GLOUCESTER
80   Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?
STANLEY
81   So am I given in charge, may't please your grace.
GLOUCESTER
82   Entreat her not the worse in that I pray
83   You use her well: the world may laugh again;
84   And I may live to do you kindness if
85   You do it her: and so, Sir John, farewell!
DUCHESS
86   What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell!
GLOUCESTER
87   Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.
Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Servingmen

DUCHESS
88   Art thou gone too? all comfort go with thee!
89   For none abides with me: my joy is death;
90   Death, at whose name I oft have been afear'd,
91   Because I wish'd this world's eternity.
92   Stanley, I prithee, go, and take me hence;
93   I care not whither, for I beg no favour,
94   Only convey me where thou art commanded.
STANLEY
95   Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man;
96   There to be used according to your state.
DUCHESS
97   That's bad enough, for I am but reproach:
98   And shall I then be used reproachfully?
STANLEY
99   Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey's lady;
100  According to that state you shall be used.
DUCHESS
101  Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,
102  Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.
Sheriff
103  It is my office; and, madam, pardon me.
DUCHESS
104  Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharged.
105  Come, Stanley, shall we go?
STANLEY
106  Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,
107  And go we to attire you for our journey.
DUCHESS
108  My shame will not be shifted with my sheet:
109  No, it will hang upon my richest robes
110  And show itself, attire me how I can.
111  Go, lead the way; I long to see my prison.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT II, SCENE IIIACT III, SCENE I (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII
  • SCENE VIII
  • SCENE IX
  • SCENE X


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III

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