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Before his legs be firm to bear his body: • Thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side, • And wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first.
Ah, that my fear were false ! ah, that it were ! • For, good king Henry, thy decay I fear.
Exeunt Attendants, with GLOSTER. K. Hen. My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth
best, Do, or undo, as if ourself were here. Q. Mar. What, will your highness leave the par
liament? K. Hen. Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown'd with
grief, * Whose food begins to flow within mine eyes ; * My body round engirt with misery ; * For what's more miserable than discontent* Ah, uncle Humphrey! in thy face I see * The map of honour, truth, and loyalty ; * And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come, * That e'er I prov'd thee false, or feard thy faith. * What low'ring star now envies thy estate, * That these great lords, and Margaret our queen, * Do seek subversion of thy harmless life? * Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong: * And as the butcher takes away the calf, * And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays, * Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house ; * Even so, remorseless, have they borne him hence, * And as the dam runs lowing up and down, * Looking the way her harmless young one went, * And can do noụght but wail her darling's loss; * Even so myself bewails good Gloster's case, * With sad unhelpful tears; and with dimm’d
eyes * Look after him, and cannot do him good; * So mighty are his vowed enemies. · His fortunes I will weep; and, 'twixt each groan, • SayWho's a traitor, Gloster he is none. Exit.
* Q. Mar. Free lords, cold snow melts with the
sun's hot beams. * Henry my lord is cold in great affairs, * Too full of foolish pity: and Gloster's show * Beguiles him, as the mournful crocodile * With sorrow snares relenting passengers ;
Or as the snake, rolld in a flowering bank, * With shining checker'd slough, doth sting a child, * That, for the beauty, thinks it excellent. * Believe me, lords, were none more wise than I, * (And yet, herein, I judge mine own wit good,) « This Gloster should be quickly rid the world, « To rid us from the fear we have of him.
* Car. That he should die, is worthy policy: * But yet we want a colour for his death : * 'Tis meet, he be condemn'd by course of law.
* Suf. But, in my mind, that were no policy: * The king will labour still to save his life, * The commons haply rise to save his life ; * And yet we have but trivial argument, * More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death. * York. So that, by this, you would not have him
die. * Suf. Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I. * York. 'Tis York that hath more reason for his
death. * But, my lord cardinal, and you, my lord of Suf
* Say as you think, and speak it from your souls,* Wer't not all one, an empty eagle were set * To guard the chicken from a hungry kite,
9 Free lords, &c.] By this she means (as may be seen by the sequel) you who are not bound up to such precise regards of religion as is the king; but are men of the world, and know how to live.
in a flowering bank,] i. e. jin the flowers growing on a bank.
* As place duke Humphrey for the king's protector? Q. Mar. So the poor chicken should be sure of
death. • Suf. Madam, 'tis true : And wer't not madness
then, • To make the fox surveyor of the fold? • Who being accus'd a crafty murderer, · His guilt should be but idly posted over, · Because his purpose is not executed. No; let him die, in that he is a fox, By nature prov'd an enemy to the flock, Before his chaps be stain'd with crimson blood; * As Humphrey, prov'd by reasons, to my liege.? * And do not stand on quillets, how to slay him : • Be it by gins, by snares, by subtilty, • Sleeping, or waking, 'tis no matter how,
So he be dead; for that is good deceit • Which mates him first, that first intends deceit. * Q. Mar. Thrice-noble Suffolk, 'tis resolutely
spoke. * Suf. Not resolute, except so much were done; * For things are often spoke, and seldom meant: * But, that my heart accordeth with my tongue,
No; let him die, in that he is a fox,
Aš Humphrey, prov'd by reasons, to my liege.] The meaning of the speaker is not hard to be discovered, but his expression is very much perplexed. He means that the fox may be lawfully killed, as being known to be by nature an enemy to sheep, even before he has actually killed them ; so Humphrey may be properly destroyed, as being proved by arguments to be the King's enemy, before he has committed any actual crime.
Some may be tempted to read treasons for reasons, but the drift of the argument is to show that there may be reason to kill him before any treason has broken out. Johnson.
for that is good deceit Which mates him first, that first intends deceit.] Mates him, means confounds him ; from amatir or mater, Fr.
* Seeing the deed is meritorious, * And to preserve my sovereign from his foe, * Say but the word, and I will be his priest. * * Car. But I would have him dead, my lord of
Suffolk, * Ere you can take due orders for a priest: * Say, you consent, and censure well the deed,5 * And I'll provide his executioner, * I tender so the safety of my liege.
* Suf. Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing. * Q. Mar. And so say I.
* York. And I: and now we three have spoke it, * It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.
Enter a Messenger. · Mess. Great lords, from Ireland am I come
amain, • To signify—that rebels there are up, * And put the Englishmen unto the sword : * Send succours, lords, and stop the rage betime, * Before the wound do
incurable; * For, being green, there is great hope of help.
* Car. A breach, 'that craves a quick expedient
• What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
York. That Somerset be sent as regent thither ; < 'Tis meet that lucky ruler be employ'd ; - Witness the fortune he hath had in France.
• Som. If York, with all his far-fet policy, · Had been the regent there instead of me, • He never would have staid in France so long.
I will be his priest.] I will be the attendant on his last scene; I will be the last man whom he will see.
sa and censure well the deed,] That is, approve the deed, judge the deed good. It skills not -] It is of no importance.
expedient stop!] i. e. expeditious.
York. No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done: "I rather would have lost my life betimes, * Than bring a burden of dishonour home,
By staying there so long, till all were lost. * Show me one scar character'd on thy skin: * Men's flesh preserv'd so whole, do seldom win. * Q. Mar. Nay then, this spark will prove a raging
fire, * If wind and fuel be brought to feed it with : * No more, good York;—sweet Somerset, be still ;* Thy fortune, York, hadst thou been regent there,
Might happily have prov'd far worse than his. York. What, worse than naught ? nay, then a
shame take all! Som. And, in the number, thee, that wishest
shame! Car. My lord of York, try what fortune is. < The uncivil Kernes of Ireland are in arms, * And temper clay with blood of Englishmen: • To Ireland will you lead a band of men, • Collected choicely, from each county some, * And try your hap against the Irishmen?
* York. I will, my lord, so please his majesty.
* Suf. Why, our authority is his consent; * And, what we do establish, he confirms : * Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.
* York. I am content: Provide me soldiers, lords, " Whiles I take order for mine own affairs. • Suf. A charge, lord York, that I will see per
form'd. • But now return we to the false duke Humphrey.
• Car. No more of him ; for I will deal with him, That, henceforth, he shall trouble us no more.
And so break off; the day is almost spent: • Lord Suffolk, you and I must talk of that event.
• York. My lord of Suffolk, within fourteen days, * At Bristol I expect my soldiers ;