Henry VI, Part 2 Act IV
by William Shakespeare

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Act IV, Scene 1

SCENE I. The coast of Kent.

Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a Captain, a Master, a Master's-mate, WALTER WHITMORE, and others; with them SUFFOLK, and others, prisoners
Captain
The gaudy, blabbing and remorseful day
Is crept into the bosom of the sea;
And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
That drag the tragic melancholy night;
Who, with their drowsy, slow and flagging wings,
Clip dead men's graves and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize;
For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs,
Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore.
Master, this prisoner freely give I thee;
And thou that art his mate, make boot of this;
The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.

First Gentleman
What is my ransom, master? let me know.

Master
A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
Master's-Mate And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.

Captain
What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
And bear the name and port of gentlemen?
Cut both the villains' throats; for die you shall:
The lives of those which we have lost in fight
Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!

First Gentleman
I'll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.

Second Gentleman
And so will I and write home for it straight.

WHITMORE
I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
And therefore to revenge it, shalt thou die;

To SUFFOLK

And so should these, if I might have my will.

Captain
Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live.

SUFFOLK
Look on my George; I am a gentleman:
Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.

WHITMORE
And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.
How now! why start'st thou? what, doth
death affright?

SUFFOLK
Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
A cunning man did calculate my birth
And told me that by water I should die:
Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.

WHITMORE
Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not:
Never yet did base dishonour blur our name,
But with our sword we wiped away the blot;
Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge,
Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced,
And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!

SUFFOLK
Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,
The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.

WHITMORE
The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags!

SUFFOLK
Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke:
Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?

Captain
But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.

SUFFOLK
Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood,
The honourable blood of Lancaster,
Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
Hast thou not kiss'd thy hand and held my stirrup?
Bare-headed plodded by my foot-cloth mule
And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
How often hast thou waited at my cup,
Fed from my trencher, kneel'd down at the board.
When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
Remember it and let it make thee crest-fall'n,
Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride;
How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
And duly waited for my coming forth?
This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.

WHITMORE
Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?

Captain
First let my words stab him, as he hath me.

SUFFOLK
Base slave, thy words are blunt and so art thou.

Captain
Convey him hence and on our longboat's side
Strike off his head.

SUFFOLK
Thou darest not, for thy own.

Captain
Yes, Pole.

SUFFOLK
Pole!

Captain
Pool! Sir Pool! lord!
Ay, kennel, puddle, sink; whose filth and dirt
Troubles the silver spring where England drinks.
Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
For swallowing the treasure of the realm:
Thy lips that kiss'd the queen shall sweep the ground;
And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey's death,
Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain,
Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again:
And wedded be thou to the hags of hell,
For daring to affy a mighty lord
Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
By devilish policy art thou grown great,

(The entire section is 6,775 words.)