William Shakespeare's Second Part of King Henry the Sixth in the complete original text.
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Second Part of King Henry the Sixth

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Act II. Scene I.

Act II. Scene I.—St. Alban's.

Enter KING HENRY, QUEEN MARGARET,
GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL BEAUFORT,
and SUFFOLK, with Falconers, hollaing.

Q. Mar. Believe me, lords, for flying at the
brook,
I saw not better sport these seven years' day:
Yet, by your leave, the wind was very high,
And, ten to one, old Joan had not gone out.
K. Hen. But what a point, my lord, your
falcon made,
And what a pitch she flew above the rest!
To see how God in all his creatures works!
Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.
Suf. No marvel, an it like your majesty,
My Lord Protector's hawks do tower so well;
They know their master loves to be aloft,
And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.
Glo. My lord, 'tis but a base ignoble mind
That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.
Car. I thought as much; he'd be above the
clouds.
Glo. Ay, my Lord Cardinal; how think you by
that?
Were it not good your Grace could fly to hea-
ven?
K. Hen. The treasury of everlasting joy.
Car. Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and
thoughts
Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart;
Pernicious protector, dangerous peer,
That smooth'st it so with king and commonweal!
Glo. What! cardinal, is your priesthood
grown peremptory?
Tantæne animis cœlestibus iræ?
Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such
malice;
With such holiness can you do it?
Suf. No malice, sir; no more than well be-
comes
So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.
Glo. As who, my lord?
Suf. Why, as you, my lord,
An't like your lordly lord-protectorship.
Glo. Why, Suffolk, England knows thine
insolence.
Q. Mar. And thy ambition, Gloucester.
K. Hen. I prithee, peace,
Good queen, and whet not on these furious
peers:
For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.
Car. Let me be blessed for the peace I make
Against this proud protector with my sword!
Glo. [Aside to the CARDINAL.] Faith, holy
uncle, would 'twere come to that!
Car. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] Marry, when
thou dar'st.
Glo. [Aside to the CARDINAL.] Make up no fac-
tious numbers for the matter;
In thine own person answer thy abuse.
Car. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] Ay, where thou
dar'st not peep: an if thou dar'st,
This evening on the east side of the grove.
K. Hen. How now, my lords!
Car. Believe me, cousin Gloucester,
Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,
We had had more sport. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.]
Come with thy two-hand sword.
Glo. True, uncle.
Car. Are you advis'd? [Aside to GLOUCES-
TER] the east side of the grove.
Glo. [Aside to the CARDINAL.] Cardinal, I am
with you.
K. Hen. Why, how now, uncle Gloucester!
Glo. Talking of hawking; nothing else, my
lord.—
[Aside to the CARDINAL.] Now, by God's mother,
priest, I'll shave your crown
For this, or all my fence shall fail.
Car. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] Medice teipsum;
Protector, see to't well, protect yourself.
K. Hen. The winds grow high; so do your
stomachs, lords.
How Irksome is this music to my heart!
When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?
I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.

Enter One, crying, 'A Miracle.'
Glo. What means this noise?
Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?
One. A miracle! a miracle!
Suf. Come to the king, and tell him what
miracle.
One. Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban's
shrine,
Within this half hour hath receiv'd his sight;
A man that ne'er saw in his life before.
K. Hen. Now, God be prais'd, that to believ-
ing souls
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

Enter the Mayor of Saint Alban's, and his
Brethren, and SIMPCOX, borne between two
persons in a chair; his Wife and a great
multitude following.
Car. Here comes the townsmen on procession,
To present your highness with the man.
K. Hen. Great is his comfort in this earthly
vale,
Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.
Glo. Stand by, my masters; bring him near
the king:
His highness' pleasure is to talk with him.
K. Hen. Good fellow, tell us here the circum-
stance,
That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
What! hast thou been long blind, and now
restor'd?
Simp. Born blind, an't please your Grace.
Wife. Ay, indeed, was he.
Suf. What woman is this?
Wife. His wife, an't like your worship.
Glo. Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst
have better told.
K. Hen. Where wert thou born?
Simp. At Berwick in the north, an't like
your Grace.
K. Hen. Poor soul! God's goodness hath
been great to thee:
Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.
Q. Mar. Tell me, good fellow, cam'st thou
here by chance,
Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?
Simp. God knows, of pure devotion; being
call'd
A hundred times and oft'ner in my sleep,
By good Saint Alban; who said, 'Simpcox,
come;
Come, offer at my shrine, and I will help thee.'
Wife. Most true, forsooth; and many time
and oft
Myself have heard a voice to call him so.
Car. What! art thou lame?
Simp. Ay, God Almighty help me!
Suf. How cam'st thou so?
Simp. A fall off of a tree.
Wife. A plum-tree, master.
Glo. How long hast thou been blind?
Simp. O! born so, master.
Glo. What! and wouldst climb a tree?
Simp. But that in all my life, when I was a
youth.
Wife. Too true; and bought his climbing
very dear.
Glo. Mass, thou lov'dst plums well, that
wouldst venture so.
Simp. Alas! master, my wife desir'd some
damsons,
And made me climb with danger of my life.
Glo. A subtle knave! but yet it shall not serve.
Let me see thine eyes: wink now: now open
them:
In my opinion yet thou seest not well.
Simp. Yes, master, clear as day; I thank
God and Saint Alban.
Glo. Sayst thou me so? What colour is this
cloak of?
Simp. Red, master; red as blood.
Glo. Why, that's well said. What colour is
my gown of?
Simp. Black, forsooth; coal-black, as jet.
K. Hen. Why then, thou know'st what colour
jet is of?
Suf. And yet, I think, jet did he never see.
Glo. But cloaks and gowns before this day a
many.
Wife. Never, before this day, in all his life.
Glo. Tell me, sirrah, what's my name?
Simp. Alas! master, I know not.
Glo. What's his name?
Simp. I know not.
Glo. Nor his?
Simp. No, indeed, master.
Glo. What's thine own name?
Simp. Saunder Simpcox, an if it please you,
master.
Glo. Then, Saunder, sit there, the lyingest
knave in Christendom. If thou hadst been born
blind, thou mightst as well have known all our
names as thus to name the several colours we do
wear. Sight may distinguish of colours, but
suddenly to nominate them all, it is impossible.
My lords, Saint Alban here hath done a miracle;
and would ye not think that cunning to be great,
that could restore this cripple to his legs again?
Simp. O, master, that you could!
Glo. My masters of Saint Alban's, have you
not beadles in your town, and things called
whips?
May. Yes, my lord, if it please your Grace.
Glo. Then send for one presently.
May. Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither
straight. [Exit an Attendant.
Glo. Now fetch me a stool hither by and by.
[A stool brought out.] Now, sirrah, if you mean
to save yourself from whipping, leap me over
this stool and run away.
Simp. Alas! master, I am not able to stand
alone:
You go about to torture me in vain.

Re-enter Attendant, and a Beadle with a whip.
Glo. Well, sir, we must have you find your
legs. Sirrah beadle, whip him till he leap over
that same stool.
Bead. I will, my lord. Come on, sirrah; off
with your doublet quickly.
Simp. Alas! master, what shall I do? I am
not able to stand.
[After the Beadle hath hit him once, he
leaps over the stool, and runs away:
and the people follow and cry, 'A
miracle!'
K. Hen. O God! seest thou this, and bear'st
so long?
Q. Mar. It made me laugh to see the villain run.
Glo. Follow the knave; and take this drab
away.
Wife. Alas! sir, we did it for pure need.
Glo. Let them be whipp'd through every
market town
Till they come to Berwick, from whence they
came. [Exeunt Mayor, Beadle, Wife, &c.
Car. Duke Humphrey has done a miracle
to-day.
Suf. True; made the lame to leap and fly
away.
Glo. But you have done more miracles than I;
You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.

Enter BUCKINGHAM.
K. Hen. What tidings with our cousin Buck-
ingham?
Buck. Such as my heart doth tremble to un-
fold.
A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
Under the countenance and confederacy
Of Lady Eleanor, the protector's wife,
The ringleader and head of all this rout,
Have practis'd dangerously against your state,
Dealing with witches and with conjurers:
Whom we have apprehended in the fact;
Raising up wicked spirits from under-ground,
Demanding of King Henry's life and death,
And other of your highness' privy council,
As more at large your Grace shall understand.
Car. And so, my Lord Protector, by this means
Your lady is forthcoming yet at London.
This news, I think, hath turn'd your weapon's
edge;
'Tis like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.
Glo. Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict
my heart:
Sorrow and grief have vanquish'd all my powers;
And, vanquish'd as I am, I yield to thee,
Or to the meanest groom.
K. Hen. O God! what mischiefs work the
wicked ones,
Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby.
Q. Mar. Gloucester, see here the tainture of
thy nest;
And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.
Glo. Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal,
How I have lov'd my king and commonweal;
And, for my wife, I know not how it stands.
Sorry I am to hear what I have heard:
Noble she is, but if she have forgot
Honour and virtue, and convers'd with such
As, like to pitch, defile nobility,
I banish her my bed and company,
And give her, as a prey, to law and shame,
That hath dishonour'd Gloucester's honest name.
K. Hen. Well, for this night we will repose us
here:
To-morrow toward London back again,
To look into this business thoroughly,
And call these foul offenders to their answers;
And poise the cause in justice' equal scales,
Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause
prevails. [Flourish. Exeunt.
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