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My thoughts, that labour to persuade my soul,
Some violent hands were laid on Humphrey's life!
If my suspect be false, forgive me, God;
For judgment only doth belong to thee !
Fain would I go to chafe his paly lips
With twenty thousand kisses, and to drain
Upon his face an ocean of salt tears;
To tell my love unto his dumb deaf trunk,
And with my fingers feel bis hand unfeeling:
But all in vain are these mean obsequies;
And, to survey his dead and earthy image,
What were it but to make my sorrow greater?
The folding Doors of an inner Chamber are thrown open,
and GLOSTER is discovered dead in his Bed : WARWICK and Others standing by it. War. Come hither, gracious sovereign, view this body.
K. Hen. That is to see how deep my grave is made : For, with his soul, fled all my worldly solace; For seeing him, I see my life in death.
War. As surely as my soul intends to live
With that dread King, that took our state upon
To free us from his Father's wrathful curse,
I do believe that violent hands were laid
Upon the life of this thrice-famed duke.
Suf. A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue ! What instance gives lord Warwick for his vow?
War. See, how the blood is settled in his face !
Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost,
Of ashy semblance, meager, pale, and bloodless,
Being all descended to the labouring heart;
Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy
Which with the heart there cools, and ne'er returneth
To blush and beautify the cheek again.
But, see, his face is black, and full of blood;
His eye-balls farther out than when he liv'd,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man:
His hair uprear’d, his nostrils stretch'd with struggling;
His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
And tugg’d for life, and was by strength subdu'd.
Look on the sheets, his hair, you see, is sticking;
His well-proportioned beard made rough and rugged,
Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodg’d.
It cannot be, but he was murder'd here;
The least of all these signs were probable.
Suf. Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to death
Myself, and Beaufort, had him in protection;
And we, I hope, sir, are no murderers.
War. But both of you were vow'd duke Humphrey's
foes; And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep: "Tis like, you would not feast him like a friend; And 'tis well seen he found an enemy.
Q. Mar. Then you, belike, suspect these noblemen As guilty of duke Humphrey's timeless death.
War. Who finds the heifer dead, and bleeding fresh, And sees fast by a butcher with an axe, But will suspect, 'twas he that made the slaughter ? Who finds the partridge in the puttock’s nest, But may imagine how the bird was dead, Although the kite soar with unbloodied beak? Even so suspicious is this tragedy.
Q. Mar. Are you the butcher, Suffolk; where's your
Is Beaufort term’d a kite? where are his talons ?
Suf. I wear no knife, to slaughter sleeping men;
But here's a vengeful sword, rusted with ease,
That shall be scoured in his rancorous heart,
That slanders me with murder's crimson badge:-
Say, if thou dar’st, proud lord of Warwickshire,
That I am faulty in duke Humphrey's death.
[Exeunt Cardinal, Som. and Others. War. What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare
him? Q. Mar. He dares not calm his contumelious spirit, Nor cease to be an arrogant controller, Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.
War. Madam, be still; with reverence may I say;
For every word, you speak in his behalf,
Is slander to your royal dignity.
Suf. Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanour!
If ever lady wrong’d her lord so much,
Thy mother took into her blameful bed
Some stern untutor'd churl, and noble stock
Was graft with crab-tree slip; whose fruit thou art,
And never of the Nevils' noble race.
War. But that the guilt of murder bucklers thee,
And I should rob the deathsman of his fee,
Quitting thee thereby of ten thousand shames,
And that my sovereign's presence makes me mild,
I would, false murderous coward, on thy knee
Make thee beg pardon for thy passed speech,
And say-it was thy mother that thou mean’st,
That thou thyself wast born in bastardy:
And, after all this fearful homage done,
Give thee thy hire, and send thy soul to hell,
Pernicious bloodsucker of sleeping men !
Suf. Thou shalt be waking, while I shed thy blood, If from this presence thou dar’st go with me.
War. Away even now, or I will drag thee hence:
Unworthy though thou art, I'll cope with thee,
And do some service to duke Humphrey's ghost.
[Exeunt Suffolk and WARWIOK. K. Hen. What stronger breast-plate than a heart un
Thrice is he arm’d, that hath his quarrel just;
And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
[A noise within Q. Mar. What noise is this?
Re-enter Suffolk and WARWICK, with their Weapons
drawn. K. Hen. Why, how now, lords ? your wrathful wea
pons drawn Here in our presence? dare you be so bold? Why, what tumultuous clamour have we here?
Suf. The traitorous Warwick, with the men of Bury, Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.
Noise of a Crowd within. Re-enter SALISBURY. Sal. Sirs, stand apart; the king shall know your mind.
[Speaking to those within. Dread lord, the commons send you word by me, Unless false Suffolk straight be done to death, Or banished fair England's territories,
They will by violence tear him from your palace
And torture him with grievous ling’ring death.
They say, by him the good duke Humphrey died
They say, in him they fear your highness' death;
And mere instinct of love, and loyalty,
Free from a stubborn opposite intent,
As being thought to contradict your liking,-
Makes them thus forward in his banishment.
They say, in care of your most royal person,
That, if your highness should intend to sleep,
And charge—that no man should disturb your rest,
In pain of your dislike, or pain of death;
Yet notwithstanding such a strait edict,
Were there a serpent seen, with forked tongue,
That slily glided towards your majesty,
It were but necessary, you were wak’d;
Lest, being suffer'd in that harmful slumber,
The mortal worm might make the sleep eternal :
And therefore do they cry, though you forbid,
That they will guard you, whe'r you will, or no,
From such fell serpents as false Suffolk is;
With whose envenomed and fatal sting,
Your loving uncle, twenty times his worth,
They say, is shamefully bereft of life.
Commons. [Within.] An answer from the king, my
lord of Salisbury.
Suf. 'Tis like, the commons, rude unpolish'd hinds,
Could send such message to their sovereign :
But you, my lord, were glad to be employ'd,
To show how quaint an orator you are :
But all the honour Salisbury hath won,