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And so conduct me where, from company, I may revolve and ruminate my grief. [Exit. Glo. Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last. [Exeunt GLO. and ExE. Suf. Thus Suffolk hath prevail'd: and thus he goes,

As did the youthful Paris once to Greece;
With hope to find the like event in love,
But prosper better than the Trojan did.
Margaret shall now be queen, and rule the king;
But I will rule both her, the king, and realm.



IN perusing this play, we seem to be walking among covered pitfalls: the snares of treachery are spread in all directions; every noble is striving for supremacy, and each exclaiming on the ambition of the rest. The drama forms a dark and terrible picture of the wickedness of courts; for sophistry, perjury, and murder, stain nearly every character except the weak king, and the "good Duke Humphrey." We recoil in disgust from this diabolical exhibition of state-craft these wily courtiers play for the crown of the feeble Henry with all the recklessness of ruined gamblers; they stake body and soul upon the cast, or rather play as if they had no souls to lose. The poet, with all the ingenuity of youth, scourges hypocrisy with unsparing vehemence; treachery is made transparent; and the great struggle for self rendered obvious and disgusting: he tears aside the disguises of patriotism and religion, and shows us the human fiends concealed beneath them.

This drama commences with the marriage of Henry, which took place in his twenty-fourth year; but the feebleness of infancy had not given way to the strength and vigour of manhood; and the son of that determined prince who was regarded by the people with affectionate awe, was a gentle, weak, spiritless, and superstitious man. Margaret of Anjou was selected by the cardinal and his compeers for Henry, as a wife calculated to arouse him into greater activity, and to impart to him some of the decision of character and strength of mind that she possessed. Added to great personal beauty and remarkable vivacity, she had a courageous temper and masculine intellect, and was regarded as the most accomplished woman of her age. Had her husband possessed a sounder judgment, and royalty of nature, she would doubtless have fulfilled these hopes respecting her; but Margaret had no one whose influence could restrain in her those arbitrary doctrines which she had learnt in France, and attempted to apply in England. She was distinguished by a haughtiness greater than had, hitherto, been assumed by any of our native kings; and she sank into unpopularity and dis like.

After Henry, the Duke of Gloster is the most amiable character; indeed, almost the only one not stained with treachery and crime; but even he cannot refrain from constant and unseemly broils with the Cardinal Beaufort. The last surviving brother of Henry the Fifth, the duke was the idol of the people, and is painted by the poet as a wise and honest counsellor: he was a great patron of hterature in those days; he gave a valuable library to the University of Oxford, and invited to England an Italian historian named Titus Livius Forojuliensis, whom he appointed his poet and orator. The incident where

his vain and ambitious duchess engages the assistance of necromancers to prophesy the death of the king, is rendered more dramatic than natural: in a play professing to treat of a comparatively modern period of history, satanic agency, and the appearance of spirits, are inconsistent with the actual events enacted. The guilt of the duchess consisted in her search for supernatural aid: and here perhaps Shakespeare, in his maturity, would have paused; but in his youth, before he knew his own strength, and was content to rely entirely upon natural incidents for effect, he omitted no opportunity of giving to his play the character of a spectacle, and crowding into it every circumstance likely to be attractive to an audience.

The incidents in this drama are remarkably varied, and follow one another with great rapidity there is no pause in the action; the attention is never suffered to flag. Thus Hume, Bolingbroke, and Mother Jourdain, have no sooner been arrested for sorcery, than we are transported to St. Alban's, and witness the mirthmoving miracle performed on the impostor Simpcox. The humour here is admirable; we recognise the hand that, in after days, drew the inimitable Falstaff. The characters of the whole group are well preserved in this scene. The pious and simple Henry has faith in the supposed miracle, and bids the fellow ever devoutly to remember what the Lord has done for him; but the more subtle courtiers doub: its authenticity, and question the knave; while Gloucester detects him by a very philosophical process. Had he been born blind, it would have been impossible for him to have distinguished colours immediately upon receiving his sight. Queen Margaret laughs at the discovery; but Henry mourns at the duplicity of


We have next the trial by combat, between the armourer Horner and his 'prentice, Peter Thump. Duels of this character are of great antiquity, and in them the vanquished was considered to be the guilty party. Men of low condition were not permitted to fight with the sword or lance: these were honourable weapons, reserved for knights and nobles; therefore the common people in these trials fought with an ebon staff, at the end of which was fixed a bag crammed hard with sand, which made a more formidable weapon than might at first be conceived, and one with which a powerful man might easily strike his opponent dead. With this instrument the timorous Peter kills his master, the latter having drank so freely with his neighbours as to be incapable of defending himself.

The scene where the murder of Duke Humphrey is discovered, is worthy of Shakespeare in

the full radiance of his intellectual glory. It
is sublimely awful. Warwick's description of
the corpse "staring full ghastly like a strangled
," with its blackened face, dilated nostrils,
and torn hair and beard, is one of our bard's
darkest pictures. It may be placed on a parallel
with that terrible scene in Macbeth, where the
unoffending Duncan is slain at midnight by his
treacherous host, and in which so many terrible
incidents are combined to appal the spectator:
indeed, it is a question whether it does not pos-
sess even a still more terrible grandeur. The
mental agony of the weak Henry is touchingly
exhibited he had not striven to withhold the
storm of persecution which had fallen upon the
duke, but he is painfully affected at his death:
some compunctions of conscience probably visit
him as he reflects that he had abandoned Glou-
cester to his fate; had he been more determined,
he might have saved the uncle whom he loved;
and he commands the suspected Suffolk from
his presence with a stern vehemence not com-
mon to his gentle nature.

rebels. Cade was not a native of Kent, but of Ireland, and had spent some time in France, either as a soldier or an outlaw: his great courage and hardihood admirably fitted him for the leader of a popular insurrection, and for some time he preserved great order among his rude followers, and punished them for theft or violence; but the passions of an excited crowd are not to be long restrained, and they soon broke out into furious excesses. Shakespeare, as is usual with him, treats the mob with contempt, and ridicules their tergiversation and want of principle. These men, who had perilled their lives to reform abuses. and to make Cade their king-in answer to a brief speech from old Clifford, desert their leader, and, throwing their caps into the air, exclaim, "God save the king! we'll follow the king and Clifford."

The insurrection of Cade and his followers, though extinguished, left the country in a state which enabled a few ambitious nobles to plunge it in a savage civil war: thousands of discontented and unemployed peasants were ready to flock to any standard, and to fight for any cause. If peace would yield them nothing, they were willing to try what war results of such a rising among a rude and barcould do. The poet truly represents the tragic barous people. The murder of Lord Say is both affecting and horrible: he pleads for his life with a manly eloquence which would have won it from any but a people inured to acts of bloodshed. Cade, however, is distinguished from his followers by his great courage and consistency; and we pity the poor starving wretch when he is slain by Iden, the Kentish squire.

We are next led to the bedside of the chief murderer of the unhappy duke: the great cardinal has been seized with a sudden sickness,"That makes him gasp, and stare, and catch the air, Blaspheming God, and cursing men on earth." Henry approaches the dying wretch, who is perishing in the fearful recollection of his unrepented sins; and who, in his delirium, beholds the spirit of the murdered duke, whose sightless orbs are bent upon him, while his upright hair bespeaks his dying agony. The cardinal is convulsed with the pangs of death, and becomes speechless, when the king conjures him to give some sign of a hope of salvation. The turbulent and once haughty priest dies, and makes no sign. Dr. Johnson says "These are beauties which arise out of nature and of truth; the superficial reader cannot miss them; the profound can image nothing beyond them." Vengeance hangs over the heads of Duke Humphrey's murderers. Suffolk is the next stricken by the lightnings of eternal retribution; he is assassinated by pirates on the sea-shore near Dover, and his death fulfils This and the following drama, Mr. Malone bethe equivocal prophecy of the evil spirit respect-lieves to have been produced in their present ing him.

The mind is recalled from dwelling too seriously upon the terrible incidents just alluded to, by the introduction of Jack Cade and the Kentish

In the fifth act of this play, the storm which has been so long lowering at length breaks forth; ambition throws aside its thin disguise: the perfidious and ungrateful Duke of York, forgetting that Henry has restored him to his honours and estates, defies his sovereign and claims the crown. The banner of rebellion floats gaudily in the air; civil war commences in England; and the play terminates with the victory of York at St. Alban's, and the flight of the Lancastrian party to London.

form in the year 1591; the poet was then in his twenty-ninth year, the year to which Mr. Drake assigns the production of Love's Labour's Lost certainly Shakespeare's most feeble comedy.

3 A 2

King Henry the Sixth.


Persons Represented.

HUMPHREY, Duke of Gloster, his Uncle. CARDINAL BEAUFORT, Bishop of Winchester, great Uncle to the King.

EDWARD and RICHARD, his Sons.





Young CLIFFORD, his Son,

of the King's Party.

EARL OF WARWICK,' of the York Faction.
LORD SCALES, Governor of the Tower. LORD SAY.
Sir HUMPHREY STAFFORD, and his Brother.

A Sea Captain, Master, and Master's Mate, and

Two Gentlemen, Prisoners with Suffolk.

A Herald. VAUX.

HUME and SOUTHWELL, two Priests.
BOLINGBROKE, a Conjurer. A Spirit raised by him.
THOMAS HORNER, an Armourer. PETER, his Man.
Clerk of Chatham. Mayor of St. Alban's.
SIMPCOX, an Impostor. Two Murderers.
JACK CADE, a Rebel.

MICHAEL, &c., his followers.
ALEXANDER IDEN, a Kentish Gentleman.

MARGARET, Queen to King Henry.
ELEANOR, Duchess of Gloster.
MARGERY JOURDAIN, a Witch. Wife to Simpcox.

Lords, Ladies, and Attendants; Petitioners,
Aldermen, a Beadle, Sheriff, and Officers;
Citizens, Prentices, Falconers, Guards, Sol-
diers, Messengers, &c.

SCENE.-Dispersedly in various parts of England.

Act First.


London. A Room of State in the Palace. Flourish of Trumpets: then Hanetboys. Enter, on one side, KING HENRY, DUKE OF GLOSTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and CARDINAL BEAUFORT; on the other, QUEEN MARGARET, led in by SUFFOLK; YORK, SOMERSET, BUCKINGHAM, and Others, following.

Suff. As by your high imperial majesty
I had in charge at my depart for France,
As procurator to your excellence,

To marry Princess Margaret for your grace;
So, in the famous ancient city, Tours,-
In presence of the kings of France and Sicil,
The dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretaigne, and

Seven earls, twelve barons, twenty reverend



I have perform'd my task, and was espous'd:
And humbly now upon my bended knee,
In sight of England and her lordly peers,
Deliver up my title in the queen
To your most gracious hands, that are the sub-
Of that great shadow I did represent;
The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
The fairest queen that ever king receiv'd.

K. Hen. Suffolk, arise.-Welcome, Queen Mar-
I can express no kinder sign of love [garet.
Than this kind kiss.-O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
For thou hast given me, in this beauteous face,
A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.

Q. Mar. Great King of England, and my gracious lord;

The mutual conference that my mind hath had
By day, by night; waking, and in my dreams;
In courtly company, or at my beads,-
With you mine alder-liefest * sovereign,
Makes me the bolder to salute my king

* Beloved above all things.

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Suff. My lord protector, so it please your grace, Here are the articles of contracted peace, Between our sovereign and the French King Charles,

For eighteen months concluded by consent.'

Glo. [Reads.] "Imprimis, It is agreed between the French king Charles, and William de la Poole, Marquess of Suffolk, ambassador for Henry King of England, that the said Henry shall espouse the Lady Margaret, daughter unto Reignier, King of Naples, Sicilia, and Jerusalem; and crown her Queen of England, ere the thirtieth of May next ensuing.-Item,-That the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released and delivered to the king, her father"

K. Hen. Uncle, how now?

Pardon me, gracious lord; Some sudden qualm hath struck me to the heart, And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further. K. Hen. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.

Car. "Item,-It is further agreed between them, that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father; and she sent over of the King of England's own proper cost and charges, without having dowry."

K. Hen. They please us well.-Lord marquess, kneel down;

We here create thee the first Duke of Suffolk,
And girt thee with the sword.-

Cousin of York, we here discharge your grace
From being regent in the parts of France,

Till term of eighteen months be full expir'd.Thanks, uncle Winchester, Gloster, York, and Buckingham,

Somerset, Salisbury, and Warwick;

We thank you all for this great favour done
In entertainment to my princely queen.
Come, let us in; and with all speed provide
To see her coronation be perform'd.

[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, and Sur. Glo. Brave peers of England, pillars of the state,

To you Duke Humphrey must unload his grief,
Your grief, the common grief of all the land.
What did my brother Henry spend his youth,
His valour, coin, and people, in the wars?
Did he so often lodge in open field,

In winter's cold, and summer's parching heat,
To conquer France, his true inheritance?
And did my brother Bedford toil his wits
To keep by policy what Henry got?
Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham,
Brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick,
Receiv'd deep scars in France and Normandy?
Or hath my uncle Beaufort, and myself,
With all the learned council of the realm,
Studied so long, sat in the council-house
Early and late, debating to and fro

How France and Frenchmen might be kept in
And hath his highness in his infancy
Been crown'd in Paris, in despite of foes?
And shall these labours and these honours die?
Shall Henry's conquest, Bedford's vigilance,
Your deeds of war, and all our counsel, die?
O peers of England, shameful is this league!
Fatal this marriage, cancelling your fame :
Blotting your names from books of memory:
Razing the characters of your renown;
Defacing monuments of conquer'd France;
Undoing all, as all had never been!

[course? Car. Nephew, what means this passionate disThis peroration with such circumstance?* For France, 'tis ours; and we will keep it still. Glo. Ay, uncle, we will keep it if we can; But now it is impossible we should : Suffolk, the new-made duke that rules the roast, Hath given the duchies of Anjou and Maine Unto the poor King Reignier, whose large style Agrees not with the leanness of his purse. [all, Sal. Now, by the death of him that died for These counties were the keys of Normandy :But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son? War. For grief that they are past recovery: For, were there hope to conquer them again, My sword should shed hot blood, mine eyes no tears.

Anjou and Maine! myself did win them both; Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer: And are the cities that I got with wounds Deliver'd up again with peaceful words?

York. For Suffolk's duke-may he be suffoThat dims the honour of this warlike isle! [cate, France should have torn and rent my very heart, Before I would have yielded to this league. I never read but England's kings have had Large sums of gold, and dowries, with their wives:

And our King Henry gives away his own, To match with her that brings no vantages. Glo. A proper jest, and never heard before, That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth, For costs and charges in transporting her! She should have staid in France, and starv'd in Before-[France, This speech, crowded with so many circumstances of aggravation. + Skirmishings.

Car. My lord of Gloster, now you grow too It was the pleasure of my lord the king. [hot; Glo. My lord of Winchester, I know your mind;

'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike,
But 'tis my presence that doth trouble you.
Rancour will out: Proud prelate, in thy face
I see thy fury: if I longer stay,


We shall begin our ancient bickerings.+-
Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone,
prophesied-France will be lost ere long. [Exit.
Car. So, there goes our protector in a rage.
'Tis known to you he is mine enemy:
Nay, more, an enemy unto you all;
And no great friend, I fear me, to the king.
Consider, lords, he is the next of blood,
And heir apparent to the English crown;
Had Henry got an empire by his marriage,
And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west,
There's reason he should be displeas'd at it.
Look to it, lords; let not his smoothing words
Bewitch your hearts; be wise and circumspect.
What though the common people favour him,
Calling him-" Humphrey, the good Duke of

Clapping their hands, and crying with lond May heaven preserve the good Duke Humphrey !"

I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss,
He will be found a dangerous protector. [reign,
Buck. Why should he then protect our sove-
He being of age to govern of himself?-
Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
And all together-with the Duke of Suffolk,-
We'll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from
his seat.

Car. This weighty business will not brook I'll to the Duke of Suffolk presently. [Exit. Som. Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey's pride,

And greatness of his place, be grief to us,
Yet let us watch the haughty cardinal;

His insolence is more intolerable
Than all the princes in the land beside;
If Gloster be displac'd, he 'll be protector.
Buck. Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector.
Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.

[Exit BUCK. and Soм.
Sal. Pride went before, ambition follows
While these do labour for their own prefer-
Behoves it us to labour for the realm.
I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloster
Did bear him like a noble gentleman.
Oft have I seen the haughty cardinal-
More like a soldier than a man o' the church,
As stout and proud as he were lord of all,—
Swear like a ruffian, and demean himself
Unlike the ruler of a common-weal.-
Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age! [ing,
Thy deeds, thy plainness, and thy house-keep-
Hath won the greatest favour of the commons,
Excepting none but good Duke Humphrey.-
And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland,
In bringing them to civil discipline;
Thy late exploits, done in the heart of France,
When thou wert regent for our sovereign,
Have made thee fear'd and honour'd of the
people :-

Join we together for the public good;
In what we can to bridle and suppress
The pride of Suffolk and the cardinal,
With Somerset's and Buckingham's ambition;
And, as we may, cherish Duke Humphrey's

While they do tend the profit of the land.


War. So God help Warwick, as he loves the And common profit of his country! [land, York. And so says York, for he hath greatest [unto the main. Sal. Then let's make haste away, and look [Exeunt WAR. and SAL. York. Anjou and Maine are given to the French:

Paris is lost; the state of Normandy
Stands on a tickle point now they are gone :
Suffolk concluded on the articles;

The peers agreed, and Henry was well pleas'd To change two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter.

I canot blame them all; What is 't to them?
'Tis thine they give away, and not their own.
Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their

And purchase friends, and give to courtezans,
Still revelling, like lords, till all be gone :
While as the silly owner of the goods
Weeps over them, and wrings his hapless hands,
And shakes his head, and trembling stands
While all is shar'd, and all is borne away; [aloof,
Ready to starve, and dare not touch his own.
So York must sit, and fret, and bite his tongue,
While his own lands are bargain'd for, and sold.
Methinks the realms of England, France, and

Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood,
As did the fatal brand Althea burn'd
Unto the prince's heart of Calydon.t
Anjou and Maine both given unto the French!
Cold news for me; for I had hope of France,
Even as I have of fertile England's soil.

A day will come when York shall claim his own;
And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts,
And make a show of love to proud Duke

And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
For that's the golden mark I seek to hit :
Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right,
Nor hold his sceptre in his childish fist,
Nor wear the diadem upon his head,
Whose church-like humours fit not for a crown.
Then, York, be still a while, till time do serve :
Watch thou, and wake, when others be asleep,
To pry into the secrets of the state;
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,
With his new bride, and England's dear-
bought queen,

And Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars:
Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be per-

And in my standard bear the arms of York,
To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the

Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England


A Room in the DUKE OF GLOSTER's House.
Enter GLOSTER and the DUCHESS.
Duch. Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd


Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load? Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his As frowning at the favours of the world? [brows, Why are thine eyes fix'd to the sullen earth, Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?

*For ticklish.

+ Meleager; whose life was to continue only so long as a certain firebrand should last. His

What seest thou there? King Henry's diadem,
Enchas'd with all the honours of the world?
If so, gaze on, and grovel on thy face,
Until thy head be circled with the same.
Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold :-
What, is 't too short? I'll lengthen it with mine:
And, having both together heav'd it up,
We'll both together lift our heads to heaven;
And never more abase our sight so low,
As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.

Glo. O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy
Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts: [lord,
And may that thought, when I imagine ill
Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
My troublous dream this night doth make me
[1'll requite it


Duch. What dream'd my lord? tell me, and With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream. Glo. Methought this staff, mine office-badge

in court,

Was broke in twain; by whom, I have forgot,
But, as I think, it was by the cardinal;
And on the pieces of the broken wand
Were plac'd the heads of Edmund Duke of

And William de la Poole, first Duke of Suffolk. This was my dream; what it doth bode, heaven knows.

Duch. Tut, this was nothing but an argument
That he that breaks a stick of Gloster's grove,
Shall lose his head for his presumption.
But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
Methought I sat in seat of majesty,

In the cathedral church of Westminster,
And in that chair where kings and queens are


[me, Where Henry and Dame Margaret kneel'd to And on my head did set the diadem. [right:

Glo. Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outPresumptuous dame, ill-nurtur'd Eleanor ! Art thou not second woman in the realm; And the protector's wife, belov'd of him? Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command, Above the reach or compass of thy thought? And wilt thou still be hammering treachery, To tumble down thy husband and thyself, From tp of honour to disgrace's feet? Away from me, and let me hear no more. [leric

Duch. What, what, my lord! are you so choWith Eleanor for telling but her dream? Next time I'll keep my dreams unto myself, And not be check'd.

Glo. Nay, be not angry, I am pleas'd again. Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord protector, 'tis his highness' pleasure

You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban's,
Whereas the king and queen do mean to hawk.
Gio. I go.-Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
Duch. Yes, good my lord, I'll follow pre-
[Exeunt GLO. and Mess
Follow I must, I cannot go before,
While Gloster bears this base and humble mind
Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,

I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks,
And smooth my way upon their headless necks:
And, being a woman, I will not be slack
To play my part in fortune's pageant. [man,
Where are you there? Sir John! nay, fear not,
We are alone; here's none but thee and I.
mother Althea having thrown it into the fire, he
expired in torment.
A title frequently bestowed on the clergy.

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