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