Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > 2 King Henry VI.
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth
 
Act II. Scene III.
 
The Same.  A Hall of Justice.
 
Trumpets sounded.  Enter KING HENRY, QUEEN MARGARET, GLOUCESTER, YORK, SUFFOLK, and SALISBURY; the DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER, MARGERY JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, HUME, and BOLINGBROKE, under guard.
  K. Hen.  Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester’s wife.
In sight of God and us, your guilt is great:
Receive the sentence of the law for sins        5
Such as by God’s book are adjudg’d to death.
You four, from hence to prison back again;
From thence, unto the place of execution:
The witch in Smithfield shall be burn’d to ashes,
And you three shall be strangled on the gallows.        10
You, madam, for you are more nobly born,
Despoiled of your honour in your life,
Shall, after three days’ open penance done,
Live in your country here, in banishment,
With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man.        15
  Duch.  Welcome is banishment; welcome were my death.
  Glo.  Eleanor, the law, thou seest, hath judged thee:
I cannot justify whom the law condemns.—  [Exeunt the DUCHESS, and the other Prisoners, guarded.
Mine eyes are full of tears, my heart of grief.
Ah, Humphrey! this dishonour in thine age        20
Will bring thy head with sorrow to the ground.
I beseech your majesty, give me leave to go;
Sorrow would solace and mine age would ease.
  K. Hen.  Stay, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester: ere thou go,
Give up thy staff: Henry will to himself        25
Protector be; and God shall be my hope,
My stay, my guide, and lantern to my feet.
And go in peace, Humphrey; no less belov’d
Than when thou wert protector to thy king.
  Q. Mar.  I see no reason why a king of years        30
Should be to be protected like a child.
God and King Henry govern England’s helm!
Give up your staff, sir, and the king his realm.
  Glo.  My staff! here, noble Henry, is my staff:
As willingly do I the same resign        35
As e’er thy father Henry made it mine;
And even as willingly at thy feet I leave it
As others would ambitiously receive it.
Farewell, good king! when I am dead and gone,
May honourable peace attend thy throne.  [Exit.        40
  Q. Mar.  Why, now is Henry king, and Margaret queen;
And Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, scarce himself,
That bears so shrewd a maim: two pulls at once;
His lady banish’d, and a limb lopp’d off;
This staff of honour raught: there let it stand,        45
Where it best fits to be, in Henry’s hand.
  Suf.  Thus droops this lofty pine and hangs his sprays;
Thus Eleanor’s pride dies in her youngest days.
  York.  Lords, let him go. Please it your majesty
This is the day appointed for the combat;        50
And ready are the appellant and defendant,
The armourer and his man, to enter the lists,
So please your highness to behold the fight.
  Q. Mar.  Ay, good my lord; for purposely therefore
Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried.        55
  K. Hen.  O’ God’s name, see the lists and all things fit:
Here let them end it; and God defend the right!
  York.  I never saw a fellow worse bested,
Or more afraid to fight, than is the appellant,
The servant of this armourer, my lords.        60
 
Enter, on one side, HORNER, and his Neighbours drinking to him so much that he is drunk; and he enters bearing his staff with a sand-bag fastened to it; a drum before him: on the other side, PETER, with a drum and a sand-bag; and Prentices drinking to him.
  First Neigh.  Here, neighbour Horner, I drink to you in a cup of sack: and fear not, neighbour, you shall do well enough.
  Sec. Neigh.  And here, neighbour, here’s a cup of charneco.
  Third Neigh.  And here’s a pot of good double beer, neighbour: drink, and fear not your man.
  Hor.  Let it come, i’ faith, and I’ll pledge you all; and a fig for Peter!        65
  First Pren.  Here, Peter, I drink to thee; and be not afraid.
  Sec. Pren.  Be merry, Peter, and fear not thy master: fight for credit of the prentices.
  Peter.  I thank you all: drink, and pray for me, I pray you; for, I think, I have taken my last draught in this world. Here, Robin, an if I die, I give thee my apron: and, Will, thou shalt have my hammer: and here, Tom, take all the money that I have. O Lord bless me! I pray God, for I am never able to deal with my master, he hath learnt so much fence already.
  Sal.  Come, leave your drinking and fall to blows. Sirrah, what’s thy name?
  Peter.  Peter, forsooth.        70
  Sal.  Peter! what more?
  Peter.  Thump.
  Sal.  Thump! then see thou thump thy master well.
  Hor.  Masters, I am come hither, as it were, upon my man’s instigation, to prove him a knave, and myself an honest man: and touching the Duke of York, I will take my death I never meant him any ill, nor the king, nor the queen; and therefore, Peter, have at thee with a downright blow!
  York.  Dispatch: this knave’s tongue begins to double.        75
Sound, trumpets, alarum to the combatants.  [Alarum.  They fight, and PETER strikes down his Master.
  Hor.  Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.  [Dies.
  York.  Take away his weapon. Fellow, thank God, and the good wine in thy master’s way.
  Peter.  O God! have I overcome mine enemies in this presence? O Peter! thou hast prevailed in right!
  K. Hen.  Go, take hence that traitor from our sight;        80
For by his death we do perceive his guilt:
And God in justice hath reveal’d to us
The truth and innocence of this poor fellow,
Which he had thought to have murder’d wrongfully.
Come, fellow, follow us for thy reward.  [Sound a flourish.  Exeunt.        85
 
 
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