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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. Glo. 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. * Glo. 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 defam'd by tyranny. Glo. Why, 'tis well known, that while I was pro
tector, Pity was all the fault that was in me; * For I should melt at an offender's tears, * And lowly words were ransome for their fault. • Unless it were a bloody murderer, • Or foul felonious thief that fleec'd
poor passengers, · I never gave them cóndign punishment:
Murder, indeed, that bloody sin, I tortur'd • Above the felon, or what trespass else. • Suf. My lord, these faults are easy 10, quickly
answer'd: • 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.
6. K. Hen. My lord of Gloster, 'tis my special hope, • That you will clear yourself from all suspects; My conscience tells me, you are innocent.
Glo. Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous ! * Virtue is choak’d with foul ambition, * And charity chas'd hence by rancour's hand; * Foul subornation is predominant, * And equity exil'd your highness' land. * I know, their complot is to have my life ;
And, if my death might make this island happy, • And
prove the period of their tyranny, • I would expend it with all willingness : • But mine is made the prologue to their play; · For thousands more, that yet suspect no peril, · Will not conclude their plotted tragedy. * Beaufort's, red sparkling eyes blab his heart's
malice, • And Suffolk's cloudy brow his stormy hate; • Sharp Buckingham unburdens with his tongue • The envious load that lies upon his heart: • And dogged York, that reaches at the moon,
Whose overweening arm I have pluck'd back, By false accuse 11 doth level at my life:10 i.e. slight. See King Henry IV. Part II. Act v. Sc. 2, p. 371, Thus also in Coriolanus : Think to front his revenges with the easy groans of old women,' &c.
11 For accusation.
• And you, my sovereign lady, with the rest, · Causeless have laid disgraces on my head;
And, with your best endeavour, have stirr'd up * My liefest 12 liege to be mine enemy:* Ay, all of you have laid your heads together,
Myself had notice of your conventicles, " I shall not want false witness to condemn me, · Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt; · The ancient proverb will be well affected, A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.
* Car. My liege, his railing is intolerable: * If those that care to keep your royal person * From treason's secret knife, and traitors'
rage, * Be thus upbraided, chid, and rated at, * And the offender granted scope of speech, * 'Twill make them cool in zeal unto your grace.
Suf. Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here, With ignominious words, though clerkly couch'd, • As if she had suborned some to swear • False allegations to o’erthrow his state?
• Q. Mar. But I can give the loser leave to chide.
Glo. Far truer spoke than meant: I lose indeed;• Beshrew the winners, for they played me false! * And well such losers may have leave to speak. Buck. He'll wrest the sense, and hold us here all
day:Lord cardinal, he is your prisoner.
• Car. Sirs, take away the duke, and guard him sure.
Glo. Ah, thus King Henry throws away his crutch,
Ah, that my fear were false ! ah, that it were!
[Exeunt Attendants, with GLOSTER.
K. Hen. My lords, what to your
wisdoms seemeth best, Do, or undo, as if ourself were here. Q. Mar. What, will your highness leave the par
liament? K. Hen. Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown'd with
grief, * Whose flood begins to flow within mine eyes; * My body round engirt with misery; * For what's more miserable than discontent ?* Ah, uncle Humphrey ! in thy face I see * The map of honour, truth, and loyalty! * And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come, * That e'er I prov'd thee false, or fear'd thy faith. * What low’ring star now envies thy estate, * That these great lords, and Margaret our queen, * Do seek subversion of thy harmless life? * Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong; * And as the butcher takes away the calf, * And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays, * Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house; * Even so, remorseless, have they borne him hence. * And as the dam runs lowing up and down, * Looking the way
her harmless young one went, * And can do nought but wail her darling's loss; * Even so myself bewails good Gloster's case, * With sad unhelpful tears; and with dimm'd eyes * Look after him, and cannot do him good; * So mighty are his vowed enemies. • His fortunes I will weep; and, 'twixt each groan, Say~ Who's a traitor, Gloster he is none. [Exit. Q. Mar. Free lords 13; cold snow melts with the
sun's hot beams.
13 Warburton thinks that by · free lords' Margaret means you who are not bound up to such precise regards of religion as is the king; but are men of the world, and know how to live.' I
* Henry my lord is cold in great affairs, * Too full of foolish pity; and Gloster's show * Beguiles him, as the mournful crocodile * With sorrow snares relenting passengers: * Or as the 'snake, rolld in a flowering bank 14, * With shining checker'd slough, doth sting a child, * That, for the beauty, thinks it excellent. * Believe me, lords, were none more wise than I * (And yet, herein, I judge mine own wit good), · This Gloster should be quickly rid the world, To rid us from the fear we have of him.
* Car. That he should die, is worthy policy; * But yet we want a colour for his death: * 'Tis meet, he be condemn’d by course of law.
* Suf. But, in my mind, that were no policy: * The king will labour still to save his life; * The commons haply rise to save his life; * And yet we have but trivial argument, * More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death. * York. So that, by this, you would not have him
die. Suf. Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I. * York. 'Tis York that hath more reason for his
death 15. * But, my lord cardinal, and you my lord of Suffolk,
have shown in a note on Twelfth Night, Act ii. Sc. 4, p. 322, that free meant pure, chaste, and consequently virtuous. This may be the meaning here; unless the reader would rather believe that it means free born, noble, which was the sense of its Saxon original, Freo. 14 i. e. in the flowers growing on a bank.
15 York had more reason for desiring Humphrey's death, because he stood between him and the crown, which he had proposed to himself in his ambitious views. Thus in a future passage he says:
• For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be,
And Henry put apart, the next for me.' See Sir John Fenn's Observations on the Duke of Suffolk's Death in the Collection of Paston Letters, vol. i. p. 48.