Henry VI, Part 2 Act II
by William Shakespeare

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Act II, Scene 1

SCENE I. Saint Alban's.

Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, and SUFFOLK, with Falconers halloing
QUEEN MARGARET
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 VI
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 tower 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 VI
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-protectorship.

GLOUCESTER
Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.

QUEEN MARGARET
And thy ambition, Gloucester.

KING HENRY VI
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 darest.

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 darest
not peep: an if thou darest,
This evening, on the east side of the grove.

KING HENRY VI
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 advised? the
east side of the grove?

GLOUCESTER
[Aside to CARDINAL] Cardinal, I am with you.

KING HENRY VI
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 VI
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 Alban's, 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 Alban's shrine,
Within this half-hour, hath received his sight;
A man that ne'er saw in his life before.

KING HENRY VI
Now, God be praised, that to believing souls
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

Enter the Mayor of Saint Alban's and his brethren, bearing SIMPCOX, between two in a chair, SIMPCOX's Wife following

CARDINAL
Here comes the townsmen on procession,
To present your highness with the man.

KING HENRY VI
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 VI
Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,
That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
What, hast thou been long blind and now restored?

SIMPCOX
Born blind, an't please your...

(The entire section is 4,393 words.)