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If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here ? the new-delivered Hastings ?

Enter HASTINGS.
Hast. Good time of day unto my gracious lord !
Glo. As much unto my good lord chamberlain !
Well are you welcome to this open air.
How hath your lordship brooked imprisonment?

Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must;
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks,
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

Glo. No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too; For they, that were your enemies, are his, And have prevailed as much on him, as you.

Hast. More pity that the eagle should be mewed, While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

Glo. What news abroad?

Hast. No news so bad abroad as this at home;
The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.

Glo. Now, by saint Paul, this news is bad indeed. 0, he hath kept an evil diet long, And over-much consumed his royal person ; 'Tis very grievous to be thought upon. What, is he in his bed ? Hast.

He is.
Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.

[Exit Hastings.
He cannot live, I hope ; and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steeled with weighty arguments;
And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live;
Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in !
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.'

1 Lady Anne, the betrothed widow of Edward prince of Wales. See King Henry VI. Part III.

What though I killed her husband and her father ?
The readiest way to make the wench amends,
Is—to become her husband, and her father;
The which will I; not all so much for love,
As for another secret, close intent,
By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
But

yet I run before my horse to market; Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns; When they are gone, then must I count my gains.

[Exit.

SCENE II. The same.

The same. Another Street.

Enter the corpse of King HENRY THE Sixth, borne in

an open coffin, Gentlemen bearing halberds, to guard it; and Lady Anne as mourner.

Anne. Set down, set down your honorable load, If honor may be shrouded in a hearse, Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament The untimely fall of virtuous LancasterPoor key-cold' figure of a holy king! Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster! Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood ! Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost, To hear the lamentations of poor Anne, Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son, Stabbed by the self-same hand that made these

wounds! Lo, in these windows, that let forth thy life, I

pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.- o, cursed be the hand that made these holes ! Cursed the heart, that had the heart to do it! Cursed the blood, that let this blood from hence ! More direful hap betide that hated wretch, That makes us wretched by the death of thee, Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,

1 A key, on account of the coldness of the metal of which it is composed, was often employed to stop any slight bleeding. The epithet is common to many old writers.

Or any creeping venomed thing that lives!
If ever he have child, abortive be it,
Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,
Whose ugly and unnatural aspéct
May fright the hopeful mother at the view;
And that be heir to his unhappiness !
If ever he have wife, let her be made
More miserable by the death of him,
Than I am made by my young lord and thee !-
Come, now, toward Chertsey with your holy load,
Taken from Paul's to be interred there;
And, still as you are weary of the weight,
Rest you, whilst I lament king Henry's corse.
[The bearers take up the corpse, and advance. .

Enter GLOSTER.
Glo. Stay you, that bear the corse, and set it down.

Anne. What black magician conjures up this fiend, To stop devoted, charitable deeds ?

Glo. Villains, set down the corse ; or, by saint Paul, I'll make a corse of him that disobeys.

1 Gent. My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass. Glo. Unmannered dog! stand thou when I com

mand : Advance thy halberd higher than my breast, Or, by saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot, And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.

[The bearers set down the coffin.
Anne. What, do you tremble ? are you all afraid?
Alas, I blame you not ; for you are mortal,
And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil. —
Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell!
Thou hadst but power over his mortal body;
His soul thou canst not have ; therefore, be gone.

Glo. Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
Anne. Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble

us not;
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Filled it with cursing cries, and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,

Behold this pattern of thy butcheries;
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congealed mouths, and bleed afresh ! 2—
Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells ;
Thy deed, inhuman and unnatural,
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.
O, God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
O, earth, which this blood drink'st, revenge his death!
Either, heaven, with lightning strike the murderer dead,
Or, earth, gape open wide, and eat him quick ;
As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood,
Which his hell-governed arm hath butchered !

Glo. Lady, you know no rules of charity,
Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.

Anne. Villain, thou know'st no law of God nor man; No beast so fierce, but knows some touch of pity.

Glo. But I know none, and therefore am no beast. Anne. O, wonderful, when devils tell the truth!

Glo. More wonderful, when angels are so angry:--
Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,
Of these supposed evils, to give me leave,
By circumstance, but to acquit myself.

Anne. Vouchsafe, diffused infection of a man,
For these known evils, but to give me leave,
By circumstance, to curse thy cursed self.

Glo. Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
Some patient leisure to excuse myself.
Anne. Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst

make No excuse current, but to hang thyself.

Glo. By such despair, I should accuse myself.

Anne. And, by despairing, shalt thou stand excused; For doing worthy vengeance on thyself, That didst unworthy slaughter upon

others.

1 Example.

2 This is from Holinshed. It was a tradition, very generally received, that the murdered body bleeds on the touch of the murderer.

3 Diffused anciently signified dark, obscure, strange, uncouth, or confused.

Glo. Say, that I slew them not ?
Anne.

Why, then they are not dead; But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.

Glo. I did not kill your husband.
Anne.

Why, then he is alive. Glo. Nay, he is dead; and slain by Edward's hand. Anne. In thy foul throat thou liest. Queen Margaret

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Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
But that thy brothers beat aside the point.

Glo. I was provoked by her slanderous tongue,
That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.

Anne. Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind,
That never dreamt on aught but butcheries.
Didst thou not kill this king ?
Glo.

I grant ye.
Anne. Dost grant me, hedge-hog? then, God grant

me too, Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed! O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous.

Glo. The fitter for the King of heaven, that hath him. Anne. He is in heaven, where thou shalt never

come. Glo. Let him thank me, that holp to send him

thither;
For he was fitter for that place than earth.

Anne. And thou unfit for any place but hell.
Glo. Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.
Anne. Some dungeon.
Glo.

Your bed-chamber.
Anne. Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest!
Glo. So will it, madam, till I lie with you.
Anne. I hope so.
Glo.

I know so.—But, gentle lady Anne,To leave this keen encounter of our wits, And fall somewhat into a slower method, Is not the causer of the timeless deaths Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward, As blameful as the executioner?

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