« ZurückWeiter »
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must;
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;
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.
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 ?
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.
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!
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.
Glo. Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries;
Glo. Lady, you know no rules of charity,
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:--
Anne. Vouchsafe, diffused infection of a man,
Glo. Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
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
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 ?
Why, then they are not dead; But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.
Glo. I did not kill your husband.
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
Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
Glo. I was provoked by her slanderous tongue,
Anne. Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind,
I grant ye.
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
Anne. And thou unfit for any place but hell.
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?