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Henry VI, Part 2 - Act 4, scene 1
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 2 - Act 4, scene 1
Act 4, scene 1
Attempting to sail to France, Suffolk is captured by shipmen and brutally assassinated.Alarum. ⌜Offstage⌝ fight at sea. Ordnance goes off.
Enter Lieutenant, Suffolk, ⌜captive and in disguise,⌝
and Others, ⌜including a Master, a Master’s Mate,
Walter Whitmore, and Prisoners.⌝
2069 The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day
2070 Is crept into the bosom of the sea,
2071 And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
2072 That drag the tragic melancholy night,
2073 5 Who, with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings
2074 Clip dead men’s graves, and from their misty jaws
2075 Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
2076 Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize;
2077 For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs,
2078 10 Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
2079 Or with their blood stain this discolored shore.—
2080 Master, this prisoner freely give I thee.—
2081 And, thou that art his mate, make boot of this.—
2082 The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.
⌜Three gentlemen prisoners, including Suffolk,
are handed over.⌝
2083 15 What is my ransom, master? Let me know.
2084 A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
MATE, ⌜to the Second Gentleman⌝
2085 And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.
2086 What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
2087 And bear the name and port of gentlemen?—
2088 20 Cut both the villains’ throats—for die you shall;
2089 The lives of those which we have lost in fight
2090 Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!
2091 I’ll give it, sir, and therefore spare my life.
2092 And so will I, and write home for it straight.
WHITMORE, ⌜to Suffolk⌝
2093 25 I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
2094 And therefore to revenge it shalt thou die;
2095 And so should these, if I might have my will.
2096 Be not so rash. Take ransom; let him live.
2097 Look on my George; I am a gentleman.
2098 30 Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
2099 And so am I. My name is Walter Whitmore.
2100 How now, why starts thou? What, doth death
2102 Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
2103 35 A cunning man did calculate my birth
2104 And told me that by water I should die.
2105 Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
2106 Thy name is Gualtier, being rightly sounded.
2107 Gualtier or Walter, which it is, I care not.
p. 1672108 40 Never yet did base dishonor blur our name
2109 But with our sword we wiped away the blot.
2110 Therefore, when merchantlike I sell revenge,
2111 Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced,
2112 And I proclaimed a coward through the world!
2113 45 Stay, Whitmore, for thy prisoner is a prince,
2114 The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
2115 The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags?
2116 Ay, but these rags are no part of the Duke.
2117 ⌜Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?⌝
2118 50 But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
2119 Obscure and lousy swain, King Henry’s blood,
2120 The honorable blood of Lancaster,
2121 Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
2122 Hast thou not kissed thy hand and held my stirrup?
2123 55 Bareheaded plodded by my footcloth mule,
2124 And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
2125 How often hast thou waited at my cup,
2126 Fed from my trencher, kneeled down at the board,
2127 When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
2128 60 Remember it, and let it make thee crestfall’n,
2129 Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride.
2130 How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
2131 And duly waited for my coming forth?
2132 This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
2133 65 And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.
2134 Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?
2135 First let my words stab him as he hath me.
2136 Base slave, thy words are blunt, and so art thou.
2137 Convey him hence, and on our longboat’s side,
2138 70 Strike off his head.
SUFFOLK 2139 Thou dar’st not for thy own.
2140 Yes, Pole.
SUFFOLK 2141 Pole!⌝
LIEUTENANT 2142 Pole! Sir Pole! Lord!
2143 75 Ay, kennel, puddle, sink, whose filth and dirt
2144 Troubles the silver spring where England drinks!
2145 Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
2146 For swallowing the treasure of the realm.
2147 Thy lips that kissed the Queen shall sweep the
2148 80 ground,
2149 And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey’s
2151 Against the senseless winds shall grin in vain,
2152 Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again.
2153 85 And wedded be thou to the hags of hell
2154 For daring to affy a mighty lord
2155 Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
2156 Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
2157 By devilish policy art thou grown great,
2158 90 And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorged
2159 With gobbets of thy ⌜mother’s⌝ bleeding heart.
2160 By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France.
2161 The false revolting Normans thorough thee
2162 Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy
2163 95 Hath slain their governors, surprised our forts,
2164 And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home.
2165 The princely Warwick, and the Nevilles all,
2166 Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,
2167 As hating thee, ⌜are⌝ rising up in arms.
2168 100 And now the house of York, thrust from the crown
p. 1712169 By shameful murder of a guiltless king
2170 And lofty, proud, encroaching tyranny,
2171 Burns with revenging fire, whose hopeful colors
2172 Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine,
2173 105 Under the which is writ “Invitis nubibus.”
2174 The commons here in Kent are up in arms,
2175 And, to conclude, reproach and beggary
2176 Is crept into the palace of our king,
2177 And all by thee.—Away! Convey him hence.
2178 110 O, that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder
2179 Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges!
2180 Small things make base men proud. This villain
2182 Being captain of a pinnace, threatens more
2183 115 Than Bargulus, the strong Illyrian pirate.
2184 Drones suck not eagles’ blood, but rob beehives.
2185 It is impossible that I should die
2186 By such a lowly vassal as thyself.
2187 Thy words move rage and not remorse in me.
2188 120 I go of message from the Queen to France.
2189 I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.
LIEUTENANT 2190 ⌜Walter.⌝
2191 Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.
2192 Paene gelidus timor occupat artus.
2193 125 It is thee I fear.
2194 Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
2195 What, are you daunted now? Now will you stoop?
2196 My gracious lord, entreat him; speak him fair.
2197 Suffolk’s imperial tongue is stern and rough,
2198 130 Used to command, untaught to plead for favor.
p. 1732199 Far be it we should honor such as these
2200 With humble suit. No, rather let my head
2201 Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
2202 Save to the God of heaven and to my king;
2203 135 And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
2204 Than stand uncovered to the vulgar groom.
2205 True nobility is exempt from fear.—
2206 More can I bear than you dare execute.
2207 Hale him away, and let him talk no more.
2208 140 Come, soldiers, show what cruelty you can,
2209 That this my death may never be forgot!
2210 Great men oft die by vile bezonians:
2211 A Roman sworder and banditto slave
2212 Murdered sweet Tully; Brutus’ bastard hand
2213 145 Stabbed Julius Caesar; savage islanders
2214 Pompey the Great, and Suffolk dies by pirates.
⌜Walter Whitmore⌝ exits with
Suffolk ⌜and Others.⌝
2215 And as for these whose ransom we have set,
2216 It is our pleasure one of them depart.
2217 ⌜To Second Gentleman.⌝ Therefore come you with us,
2218 150 and let him go.Lieutenant and the rest exit.
The First Gentleman remains.
Enter Walter ⌜Whitmore⌝ with the body
⌜and severed head of Suffolk.⌝
2219 There let his head and lifeless body lie,
2220 Until the Queen his mistress bury it.
Walter ⌜Whitmore⌝ exits.
2221 O, barbarous and bloody spectacle!
2222 His body will I bear unto the King.
p. 1752223 155 If he revenge it not, yet will his friends.
2224 So will the Queen, that living held him dear.
⌜He exits with the head and body.⌝