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If heaven will take the present at our hands.
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?
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.
O, 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?
Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.
He cannot live, I hope; and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
Clarence hath not another day to live;
Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.1
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?
By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns;
SCENE II. 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,——
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
To hear the lamentations of poor Anne,
Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son,
Stabbed by the self-same hand that made these
Lo, in these windows, that let forth thy life,
pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.—
O, cursed be the hand that made these holes!
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!
May fright the hopeful mother at the view;
Than I am made by my young lord and thee!-
[The bearers take up the corpse, and advance.
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
Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
[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
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries;
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.
O, God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
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.
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;
Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
Glo. I was provoked by her slanderous tongue,
I grant ye.
Anne. Dost grant me, hedge-hog? then, God grant
Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
Glo. The fitter for the King of heaven, that hath him.
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.
Anne. Il 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?