Henry VI, Part 2 - Act 1, scene 2
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Act 1, scene 2
The Duchess of Gloucester’s dream of becoming queen is rebuked by her husband but encouraged by the treacherous priest John Hume.Enter Duke Humphrey ⌜of Gloucester⌝ and his wife
⌜the Duchess⌝ Eleanor.
0272 Why droops my lord like over-ripened corn
0273 Hanging the head at Ceres’ plenteous load?
0274 Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
0275 As frowning at the favors of the world?
0276 5 Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth,
0277 Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
0278 What seest thou there? King Henry’s diadem,
0279 Enchased with all the honors of the world?
0280 If so, gaze on and grovel on thy face
0281 10 Until thy head be circled with the same.
0282 Put forth thy hand; reach at the glorious gold.
0283 What, is ’t too short? I’ll lengthen it with mine;
0284 And, having both together heaved it up,
0285 We’ll both together lift our heads to heaven
0286 15 And never more abase our sight so low
0287 As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
0288 O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord,
0289 Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts!
0290 And may that ⌜hour⌝ when I imagine ill
0291 20 Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
0292 Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
0293 My troublous dreams this night doth make me sad.
0294 What dreamed my lord? Tell me, and I’ll requite it
0295 With sweet rehearsal of my morning’s dream.
0296 25 Methought this staff, mine office badge in court,
0297 Was broke in twain—by whom I have forgot,
0298 But, as I think, it was by th’ Cardinal—
0299 And on the pieces of the broken wand
0300 Were placed the heads of Edmund, Duke of
0301 30 Somerset,
0302 And William de la Pole, first Duke of Suffolk.
0303 This was my dream. What it doth bode God knows.
0304 Tut, this was nothing but an argument
0305 That he that breaks a stick of Gloucester’s grove
0306 35 Shall lose his head for his presumption.
0307 But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
0308 Methought I sat in seat of majesty,
0309 In the cathedral church of Westminster
0310 And in that chair where kings and queens were
0311 40 crowned,
0312 Where Henry and Dame Margaret kneeled to me
0313 And on my head did set the diadem.
0314 Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright.
0315 Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor,
0316 45 Art thou not second woman in the realm
0317 And the Protector’s wife, beloved of him?
0318 Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
0319 Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
0320 And wilt thou still be hammering treachery
0321 50 To tumble down thy husband and thyself
0322 From top of honor to disgrace’s feet?
0323 Away from me, and let me hear no more!
0324 What, what, my lord? Are you so choleric
0325 With Eleanor for telling but her dream?
0326 55 Next time I’ll keep my dreams unto myself
0327 And not be checked.
0328 Nay, be not angry. I am pleased again.
0329 My Lord Protector, ’tis his Highness’ pleasure
0330 You do prepare to ride unto Saint Albans,
0331 60 Whereas the King and Queen do mean to hawk.
0332 I go.—Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
0333 Yes, my good lord. I’ll follow presently.
Gloucester exits, ⌜with Messenger.⌝
0334 Follow I must; I cannot go before
0335 While Gloucester bears this base and humble mind.
0336 65 Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
0337 I would remove these tedious stumbling blocks
0338 And smooth my way upon their headless necks;
0339 And, being a woman, I will not be slack
0340 To play my part in Fortune’s pageant.—
0341 70 Where are you there? Sir John! Nay, fear not, man.
0342 We are alone; here’s none but thee and I.
Enter ⌜Sir John⌝ Hume.
0343 Jesus preserve your royal Majesty!
0344 What sayst thou? “Majesty”? I am but “Grace.”
0345 But by the grace of God and Hume’s advice,
0346 75 Your Grace’s title shall be multiplied.
0347 What sayst thou, man? Hast thou as yet conferred
0348 With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
0349 With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
0350 And will they undertake to do me good?
0351 80 This they have promisèd: to show your Highness
0352 A spirit raised from depth of underground
0353 That shall make answer to such questions
0354 As by your Grace shall be propounded him.
0355 It is enough. I’ll think upon the questions.
0356 85 When from Saint Albans we do make return,
0357 We’ll see these things effected to the full.
0358 Here, Hume, take this reward.
⌜She gives him money.⌝
0359 Make merry, man,
0360 With thy confederates in this weighty cause.
0361 90 Hume must make merry with the Duchess’ gold.
0362 Marry, and shall! But, how now, Sir John Hume?
0363 Seal up your lips, and give no words but “mum”;
0364 The business asketh silent secrecy.
0365 Dame Eleanor gives gold to bring the witch;
0366 95 Gold cannot come amiss, were she a devil.
0367 Yet have I gold flies from another coast—
0368 I dare not say, from the rich cardinal
0369 And from the great and new-made Duke of Suffolk,
0370 Yet I do find it so. For, to be plain,
0371 100 They, knowing Dame Eleanor’s aspiring humor,
0372 Have hirèd me to undermine the Duchess
0373 And buzz these conjurations in her brain.
0374 They say a crafty knave does need no broker,
0375 Yet am I Suffolk and the Cardinal’s broker.
0376 105 Hume, if you take not heed, you shall go near
0377 To call them both a pair of crafty knaves.
0378 Well, so it stands; and thus I fear at last
0379 Hume’s knavery will be the Duchess’ wrack,
0380 And her attainture will be Humphrey’s fall.
0381 110 Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.