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ACT II. SCENE I. 


Saint Albans

Enter the KING, QUEEN, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, and SUFFOLK, with Falconers halloing

 QUEEN.

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.

 KING HENRY.

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.

 SUFFOLK.

No marvel, an it like your Majesty,
My Lord Protector's hawks do tow'r so well;
They know their master loves to be aloft,
And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.

 GLOUCESTER.

My lord, 'tis but a base ignoble mind
That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.

 CARDINAL.

I thought as much; he would be above the clouds.

 GLOUCESTER.

Ay, my lord Cardinal, how think you by that?
Were it not good your Grace could fly to heaven?

 KING HENRY.

The treasury of everlasting joy!

 CARDINAL.

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.

 GLOUCESTER.

What, Cardinal, is your priesthood grown peremptory?
Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?
Churchmen so hot? Good uncle, hide such malice;
With such holiness can you do it?

 SUFFOLK.

No malice, sir; no more than well becomes
So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.

 GLOUCESTER.

As who, my lord?

 SUFFOLK.

Why, as you, my lord,
An't like your lordly Lord's Protectorship.

 GLOUCESTER.

Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.

 QUEEN.

And thy ambition, Gloucester.

 KING HENRY.

I prithee, peace,
Good Queen, and whet not on these furious peers;
For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.

 CARDINAL.

Let me be blessed for the peace I make
Against this proud Protector with my sword!

 GLOUCESTER.

[Aside to CARDINAL] Faith, holy uncle, would 'twere
come to that!

 CARDINAL.

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Marry, when thou dar'st.

 GLOUCESTER.

[Aside to CARDINAL] Make up no factious numbers for
the matter;
In thine own person answer thy abuse.

 CARDINAL.

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Ay, where thou dar'st not peep;
an if thou dar'st,
This evening on the east side of the grove.

 KING HENRY.

How now, my lords!

 CARDINAL.

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.

 GLOUCESTER.

True, uncle.

 CARDINAL.

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Are ye advis'd? The east side
of the grove?

 GLOUCESTER.

[Aside to CARDINAL] Cardinal, I am with you.

 KING HENRY.

Why, how now, uncle Gloucester!

 GLOUCESTER.

Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.
[Aside to CARDINAL] Now, by God's Mother, priest,
I'll shave your crown for this,
Or all my fence shall fail.

 CARDINAL.

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Medice, teipsum;
Protector, see to't well; protect yourself.

 KING HENRY.

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 a TOWNSMAN of Saint Albans, crying 'A miracle!'

 GLOUCESTER.

What means this noise?
Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?

 TOWNSMAN.

A miracle! A miracle!

 SUFFOLK.

Come to the King, and tell him what miracle.

 TOWNSMAN.

Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Albans shrine
Within this half hour hath receiv'd his sight;
A man that ne'er saw in his life before.

 KING HENRY.

Now God be prais'd that to believing souls
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

Enter the MAYOR OF SAINT ALBANS and his brethren,

bearing Simpcox between two in a chair;

his WIFE and a multitude following

 CARDINAL.

Here comes the townsmen on procession
To present your Highness with the man.

 KING HENRY.

Great is his comfort in this earthly vale,
Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.

 GLOUCESTER.

Stand by, my masters; bring him near the King;
His Highness' pleasure is to talk with him.

 KING HENRY.

Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,
That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
What, hast thou been long blind and now restor'd?

 SIMPCOX.

Born blind, an't please your Grace.

 WIFE.

Ay indeed was he.

 SUFFOLK.

What woman is this?

 WIFE.

His wife, an't like your worship.

 GLOUCESTER.

Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst have better
told.

 KING HENRY.

Where wert thou born?

 SIMPCOX.

At Berwick in the north, an't like your Grace.

 KING HENRY.

Poor soul, God's goodness hath been great to thee.
Let never day nor night unhallowed pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.

 QUEEN.

Tell me, good fellow, cam'st thou here by chance,
Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?

 SIMPCOX.

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.

 CARDINAL.

What, art thou lame?

 SIMPCOX.

Ay, God Almighty help me!

 SUFFOLK.

How cam'st thou so?

 SIMPCOX.

A fall off of a tree.

 WIFE.

A plum tree, master.

 GLOUCESTER.

How long hast thou been blind?

 SIMPCOX.

O, born so, master!

 GLOUCESTER.

What, and wouldst climb a tree?

 SIMPCOX.

But that in all my life, when I was a youth.

 WIFE.

Too true; and bought his climbing very dear.

 GLOUCESTER.

Mass, thou lov'dst plums well, that wouldst venture so.

 SIMPCOX.

Alas, good master, my wife desir'd some damsons
And made me climb, With danger of my life.

 GLOUCESTER.

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.

 SIMPCOX.

Yes, master, clear as day, I thank God and Saint Alban.

 GLOUCESTER.

Say'st thou me so? What colour is this cloak of?

 SIMPCOX.

Red, master; red as blood.

 GLOUCESTER.

Why, that's well said. What colour is my gown of?

 SIMPCOX.

Black, forsooth; coal-black as jet.

 KING HENRY.

Why, then, thou know'st what colour jet is of?

 SUFFOLK.

And yet, I think, jet did he never see.

 GLOUCESTER.

But cloaks and gowns before this day a many.

 WIFE.

Never before this day in all his life.

 GLOUCESTER.

Tell me, sirrah, what's my name?

 SIMPCOX.

Alas, master, I know not.

 GLOUCESTER.

What's his name?

 SIMPCOX.

I know not.

 GLOUCESTER.

Nor his?

 SIMPCOX.

No, indeed, master.

 GLOUCESTER.

What's thine own name?

 SIMPCOX.

Saunder Simpcox, an if it please you, master.

 GLOUCESTER.

Then, Saunder, sit there, the lying'st 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 his cunning to be
great that could restore this cripple to his legs again?

 SIMPCOX.

O master, that you could!

 GLOUCESTER.

My masters of Saint Albans, have you not beadles in
your town, and things call'd whips?

 MAYOR.

Yes, my lord, if it please your Grace.

 GLOUCESTER.

Then send for one presently.

 MAYOR.

Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither straight.

Exit an attendant

 GLOUCESTER.

Now fetch me a stool hither by and by. [A stool
brought] Now, sirrah, if you mean to save yourself from whipping,
leap me over this stool and run away.

 SIMPCOX.

Alas, master, I am not able to stand alone!
You go about to torture me in vain.

Enter a BEADLE with whips

 GLOUCESTER.

Well, sir, we must have you find your legs.
Sirrah beadle, whip him till he leap over that same stool.

 BEADLE.

I will, my lord. Come on, sirrah; off with your doublet
quickly.

 SIMPCOX.

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 they follow and cry

'A miracle!'

 KING HENRY.

O God, seest Thou this, and bearest so long?

 QUEEN.

It made me laugh to see the villain run.

 GLOUCESTER.

Follow the knave, and take this drab away.

 WIFE.

Alas, sir, we did it for pure need!

 GLOUCESTER.

Let them be whipp'd through every market town till they
come to Berwick, from whence they came.

Exeunt MAYOR, BEADLE, WIFE, &c.

 CARDINAL.

Duke Humphrey has done a miracle to-day.

 SUFFOLK.

True; made the lame to leap and fly away.

 GLOUCESTER.

But you have done more miracles than I:
You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.

Enter BUCKINGHAM

 KING HENRY.

What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?

 BUCKINGHAM.

Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold:
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.

 CARDINAL.

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.

 GLOUCESTER.

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 the
Or to the meanest groom.

 KING HENRY.

O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,
Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!

 QUEEN.

Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest;
And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.

 GLOUCESTER.

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 dishonoured Gloucester's honest name.

 KING HENRY.

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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