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Home > King Henry VI Part 2 > ACT I - SCENE II. GLOUCESTER'S house.

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ACT I - SCENE II. GLOUCESTER'S house.
Enter GLOUCESTER and his DUCHESS

DUCHESS
1    Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd corn,
2    Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load?
3    Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
4    As frowning at the favours of the world?
5    Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth,
6    Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
7    What seest thou there? King Henry's diadem,
8    Enchased with all the honours of the world?
9    If so, gaze on, and grovel on thy face,
10   Until thy head be circled with the same.
11   Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold.
12   What, is't too short? I'll lengthen it with mine:
13   And, having both together heaved it up,
14   We'll both together lift our heads to heaven,
15   And never more abase our sight so low
16   As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
GLOUCESTER
17   O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord,
18   Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts.
19   And may that thought, when I imagine ill
20   Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
21   Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
22   My troublous dream this night doth make me sad.
DUCHESS
23   What dream'd my lord? tell me, and I'll requite it
24   With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream.
GLOUCESTER
25   Methought this staff, mine office-badge in court,
26   Was broke in twain; by whom I have forgot,
27   But, as I think, it was by the cardinal;
28   And on the pieces of the broken wand
29   Were placed the heads of Edmund Duke of Somerset,
30   And William de la Pole, first duke of Suffolk.
31   This was my dream: what it doth bode, God knows.
DUCHESS
32   Tut, this was nothing but an argument
33   That he that breaks a stick of Gloucester's grove
34   Shall lose his head for his presumption.
35   But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
36   Methought I sat in seat of majesty
37   In the cathedral church of Westminster,
38   And in that chair where kings and queens are crown'd;
39   Where Henry and dame Margaret kneel'd to me
40   And on my head did set the diadem.
GLOUCESTER
41   Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright:
42   Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor,
43   Art thou not second woman in the realm,
44   And the protector's wife, beloved of him?
45   Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
46   Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
47   And wilt thou still be hammering treachery,
48   To tumble down thy husband and thyself
49   From top of honour to disgrace's feet?
50   Away from me, and let me hear no more!
DUCHESS
51   What, what, my lord! are you so choleric
52   With Eleanor, for telling but her dream?
53   Next time I'll keep my dreams unto myself,
54   And not be cheque'd.
GLOUCESTER
55   Nay, be not angry; I am pleased again.
Enter Messenger

Messenger
56   My lord protector, 'tis his highness' pleasure
57   You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban's,
58   Where as the king and queen do mean to hawk.
GLOUCESTER
59   I go. Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
DUCHESS
60   Yes, my good lord, I'll follow presently.
Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Messenger
61   Follow I must; I cannot go before,
62   While Gloucester bears this base and humble mind.
63   Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
64   I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks
65   And smooth my way upon their headless necks;
66   And, being a woman, I will not be slack
67   To play my part in Fortune's pageant.
68   Where are you there? Sir John! nay, fear not, man,
69   We are alone; here's none but thee and I.
Enter HUME

HUME
70   Jesus preserve your royal majesty!
DUCHESS
71   What say'st thou? majesty! I am but grace.
HUME
72   But, by the grace of God, and Hume's advice,
73   Your grace's title shall be multiplied.
DUCHESS
74   What say'st thou, man? hast thou as yet conferr'd
75   With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
76   With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
77   And will they undertake to do me good?
HUME
78   This they have promised, to show your highness
79   A spirit raised from depth of under-ground,
80   That shall make answer to such questions
81   As by your grace shall be propounded him.
DUCHESS
82   It is enough; I'll think upon the questions:
83   When from St. Alban's we do make return,
84   We'll see these things effected to the full.
85   Here, Hume, take this reward; make merry, man,
86   With thy confederates in this weighty cause.
Exit

HUME
87   Hume must make merry with the duchess' gold;
88   Marry, and shall. But how now, Sir John Hume!
89   Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum:
90   The business asketh silent secrecy.
91   Dame Eleanor gives gold to bring the witch:
92   Gold cannot come amiss, were she a devil.
93   Yet have I gold flies from another coast;
94   I dare not say, from the rich cardinal
95   And from the great and new-made Duke of Suffolk,
96   Yet I do find it so; for to be plain,
97   They, knowing Dame Eleanor's aspiring humour,
98   Have hired me to undermine the duchess
99   And buz these conjurations in her brain.
100  They say 'A crafty knave does need no broker;'
101  Yet am I Suffolk and the cardinal's broker.
102  Hume, if you take not heed, you shall go near
103  To call them both a pair of crafty knaves.
104  Well, so it stands; and thus, I fear, at last
105  Hume's knavery will be the duchess' wreck,
106  And her attainture will be Humphrey's fall:
107  Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.
Exit

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IACT I, SCENE III (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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