Page images
PDF
EPUB

And if we did but glance a far-off look,
Immediately he was upon his knee,
That all the court admired him for submission :
But meet him now, and, be it in the morn,
When every one will give the time of day,
He knits his brow and shows an angry eye
And passeth by with stiff unbowed knee,
Disdaining duty that to us belongs.
Small curs are not regarded when they grin;
But great men tremble when the lion roars ;
And Humphrey is no little man in England.
First note that he is near you in descent,
And should you fall, he as the next will mount.
Me seemeth then it is no policy,
Respecting what a rancorous mind he bears
And his advantage following your decease,
That he should come about your royal person
Or be admitted to your highness' council.
By flattery hath he won the commons' hearts,
And when he please to make commotion,
'Tis to be feard they all will follow him.
Now'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted;
Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden
And choke the herbs for want of husbandry.
The reverent care I bear unto

my

lord
Made me collect these dangers in the duke.
If it be fond, call it a woman's fear;
Which fear if better reasons can supplant,
I will subscribe and say I wrong'd the duke.
My Lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York,

Reprove my allegation, if you can;
Or else conclude my words effectual.

Sur. Well hath your highness seen into this duke;
And, had I first been put to speak my mind,
I think I should have told your grace's tale.
The duchess by his subornation,
Upon my life, began her devilish practices:
Or, if he were not privy to those faults,
Yet, by reputing of his high descent,
As next the king he was successive heir,
And such high vaunts of his nobility,
Did instigate the bedlam brain-sick duchess
By wicked means to frame our sovereign's fall.
Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep;
And in his simple show he harbours treason.
The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.
No, no, my sovereign ; Gloucester is a man
Unsounded yet and full of deep deceit.

Car. Did he not, contrary to form of law, Devise strange deaths for small offences done?

YORK. And did he not, in his protectorship, Levy great sums of money through the realm For soldiers' pay in France, and never sent it? By means whereof the towns each day revolted.

BUCK. Tut, theseare petty faults tofaults unknown, Which time will bring to light in smooth Duke

Humphrey. KING. My lords, at once: the care you have of

us,

To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot,

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

my

downfall. QUEEN. Ah! what's more dangerous than this

fond affiance !
Seems he a dove? his feathers are but borrow'd,
For he's disposed as the hateful raven:
Is he a lamb? his skin is surely lent him,
For he's inclined as is the ravenous wolf.
Who cannot steal a shape that means deceit ?
Take heed, my lord; the welfare of us all
Hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man.

Enter SOMERSET.
Som. All health unto my gracious sovereign!
King. Welcome, Lord Somerset What news

from France ?
Som. That all your interest in those territories
Is utterly bereft you; all is lost.
King. Cold news, Lord Somerset : but God's

will be done!
York. (Aside] Cold news for me; for I had hope

of France
As firmly as I hope for fertile England.
Thus are my blossoms blasted in the bud
And caterpillars eat my

leaves

away; But I will remedy this gear ere long, Or sell my title for a glorious grave.

Enter GLOUCESTER. Glou. All happiness unto my lord the king ! Pardon, my liege, that I have stay'd so long.

Suf. Nay, Gloucester, know that thou art come

too soon,

Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art
I do arrest thee of high treason here.

Glou. Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blush
Nor change my countenance for this arrest:
A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.
The purest spring is not so free from mud
As I am clear from treason to my sovereign:
Who can accuse me? wherein am I guilty ?
YORK. 'Tis thought, my lord, that you took

bribes of France, And, being protector, stayed the soldiers' pay; By means whereof his highness hath lost France. Glou. Is it but thought so ? what are they that

think it? I never robb'd the soldiers of their pay, Nor ever had one penny bribe from France. So help me God, as I have watch'd the night, Ay, night by night, in studying good for England, That doit that e'er I wrested from the king, Or any groat I hoarded to my use, Be brought against me at my trial-day ! No; many a pound of mine own proper store, Because I would not tax the needy commons, Have I dispursed to the garrisons, And never ask'd for restitution.

Car. It serves you well, my lord, to say so much. Glou. I say no more than truth, so help me God !

YORK. In your protectorship you did devise Strange tortures for offenders never heard of, That England was defamed by tyranny. Glou. Why, 'tis well known that, whiles I was

protector,
Pity was all the fault that was in me;
For I should melt at an offender's tears,
And lowly words were ransom for their fault.
Unless it were a bloody murderer,
Or foul felonious thief that fleeced poor passengers,
I never gave them condign punishment:
Murder indeed, that bloody sin, I tortured
Above the felon or what trespass else.
Suf. My lord, these faults are easy, quickly

answered :
But mightier crimes are laid unto your charge,
Whereof you cannot easily purge yourself.
I do arrest you in his highness' name;
And here commit you to my lord cardinal
To keep, until your further time of trial.

King. My lord of Gloucester, 'tis my special hope That you

will clear yourself from all suspect : My conscience tells me you are innocent.

Glov. Ah,gracious lord, these days are dangerous: Virtue is choked with foul ambition And charity chased hence by rancour's hand; Foul subornation is predominant And equity exiled your highness' land.

« PreviousContinue »