Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

his own,

a

But our king Henry gives away
To match with her that brings no vantages.
And then, to think
That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth
For costs and charges in transporting her!
She should have stay'd in France, and stary'd in France

Before [Car. Beaufort.] Nephew of Gloster, now you grow too hot:

It was the pleasure of my lord the king.
[Gloster.] Uncle of Winchester, I know your mind :

Proud prelate, in thy face I see thy fury:
I know my presence here doth trouble you.
Rancour will out; and if I longer stay,
We shall begin our ancient bickerings.
My lords, farewell! and say, when I am gone,

I prophesied-France will be lost ere long.
[Car. Beaufort.] 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:
Look to it, lords; be wise and circumspect.
You know the common people favour him
With them he is the good duke Humphery :
To us, I fear, a dangerous protector.

Buckingham speaks : [Buckingham.] Why should he then protect our sovereign,

Who is of age to govern by himself?
Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
And all together-with the duke of Suffolk,-

We'll quickly lift duke Humphrey from his seat. In the discourse against the duke of Glo'ster, three of the noblemen present do not participate. These three are closely joined, by blood or family connections, to each other. The earl of Salisbury is of the Nevil family, being a son, by second marriage, of Nevil earl of Westmorland, und deriving his tille through his wife, the daughter of

[ocr errors]

the Salisbury who had been killed before Orleans. Warwick, Salisbury's son, also derives his title through his wife, the daughter of the Warwick who had figured in the French wars, and had been one of the successive regents of France after Bedford's death. York, the representative of the house of Mortimer by the female side, as of that of York by the male, is allied to these two noblemen by his wife, a daugh!er of the earl of Westmorland : he is consequently brother-in-law to Salisbury.

As the parties
engaged in the discourse against the duke of Glo'ster
quit the place in succession, it so happens that these three
noblemen are at length left to themselves in the council-
chamber; when Salisbury tukes up the dialogue :
[Salisbury.] These lords do labour for their own preferment:

Behoves it us to labour for the realm.
I never saw that Humphrey duke of Gloster,
Did bear him other than a noble gentleman;
But I have heard the haughty cardinal
Swear like a ruffian.
Warwick, my son,

the comfort of my age,
Thy deeds, thy plainness, and thy good house-keeping,
Have won the greatest favour of the commons,
If we except alone the good duke Humphrey.-
And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland,
And those in France when 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,

And Somerset and Buckingham's ambition.
[Warwick.] So God help Warwick, as I love the land,

And seek the profit of my country! [York.} So God help York, as he shall love his country!

York soliloquizes when the other two are gone :
His country? Yes ;
A day will come when York shall claim his country;

a

And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts,
And make a show of love to proud duke Humphrey,
And watch and wake when others are asleep.
Not long shall Lancaster usurp my right,
Nor hold the sceptre in his childish fist,
Nor wear the diadem upon a head
Whose church-like fancies do not suit a crown.
Not long, and I will raise the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum’d
And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown,

Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down. The queen Margaret soon begins to see the state of parties, and to feel her own position in the kingdom as queen consort ; for in an early scene after the foregoing, we find her holding this language with the duke of Suffolk : [Q. Margaret.] My lord of Suffolk, say, is this the guise,

Is this the fashion of the court of England ?
Is this the government of Britain's isle,
And this the royalty of Albion's king ?
What, shall king Henry be a pupil still,
Under the surly Gloster's governance ?
And I, a queen in title and in style,
Must I be made a subject to a duke.
I tell thee, Poole, when, in the city Tours,
Thou rann'st a tilt in honour of my love,
And stol’st away the ladies' hearts of France,
I thought King Henry had resembled thee,
In courage, courtship, and proportion :
But all his mind is bent to holiness,
And numbering A-ve-Maries on his beads.
I would the college of the cardinals

Would choose him pope, and carry him to Rome. [Suffolk.] Madam, be patient: as I was the cause

Your highness came to England; so will I

In England work your grace's full content. [Q. Margaret.] Content is yet to come : for have we riot,

Beside the proud protector, have we not

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

a

The imperious churchman, Beaufort; and lords York,
And Somerset, and Buckingham ; of whom

The least is more in England than the king ? [Suffolk.] Your grace might further say with truth, that he

Among these lords who can do most of all,
Cannot do more in England than the Nevils :
Sali’sbury, and Warwick are no simple peers.
But, madam, list to me:
Although we fancy not the cardinal,
Yet must we join with him, and other lords,
Till we have brought duke Humphrey in disgrace.
As for the duke of York, we must take care
We make but little for his benefit :
So, one by one, we'll weed them all at last,

And you yourself shall steer the happy helm. Before proceeding to the next scene, it must be mentioned that Gloster resigns the protectorship without hesitation the moment the king is persuaded to ask him. Afterwards, a parliament is summoned at St. Edmondsbury, to which our poet brings queen Margaret as well as king Henry, cardinal Beaufort, Suffolk, York, and Buckingham. The king first speaks : then Margaret, and then Suffolk : [K. Henry VI.) I muse my lord of Gloster is not come :

'Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man,

Whate'er occasion keeps him from us now. [Q. Margaret.] Can you not see? or will you not observe

The strangeness of his alter'd countenance ?
With what a majesty he bears himself;
How insolent, how proud, how peremptory?
To every lord who gives the time of day
He knits his brow, and shows an angry eye,
And passes by with stiff, unbowed knee:
Yet hath he won the fickle commons' hearts,
And 'tis to fear they all will follow him,
When he shall please to make commotioni.
And note, that he is near you in descent,
The rext to mount, if you, my lord, should fall.

K

My reverent care
Makes me collect this danger in the duke:
If 'tis a woman's fear, I will subscribe
To better reasons which supplant my fear.
My lord of Suffolk,-Buckingham,-or York,

Reprove my allegation, if you can.
[Suffolk.] Well hath your highness seen into the duke;

And had I been the first to speak my mind,
I think I should have told your grace's tale.
His duchess, by his subornation,
Upon my life, began her devi’lish practices :
Or if he were not privy to her sorcery,
His frequent vaunts to her of his descent
Did instigate the bedlam, brainsick duchess,
By wicked means to frame our sovereign's fall.
Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep :
And, good my sovereign, Gloster is a man

Unsounded yet, and full of deep deceit. The other three peers, cardinal Beaufort, York, and Buckingham, join in warning Henry against his uncle : he replies : [K. Henry.] My lords at once; the care you have of us

Is worthy praise : but shall I speak my conscience ?
Our kinsman Gloster is as innocent
From meaning treason to our royal person
As is the sucking lamb, or harmless dove:
The duke is virtuous, and too well given

To dream of evil, or to plot my downfal. [Q. Mar.] Seems he a dove? his feathers are but borrow'd :

Is he a lamb ? his shape is but deceit.
Take heed, my lord; the welfare of us all
Is perill’d by the safety of that man.
But see, he comes : and 'tis not meet, my lords,

That, being here, he should go hence at large. [Gloster.] All happiness unto my lord the king !

Pardon, my liege, that I have stay'd so long.

a

« AnteriorContinua »