Henry VI, Part 2 "True Nobility Is Exempt From Fear"
by William Shakespeare

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"True Nobility Is Exempt From Fear"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The Duke of Suffolk has been banished from England because of his murder of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. At the suggestion of Queen Margaret, who loves him, he has gone to France. He and two gentlemen are captured off the coast of Kent. Suffolk says that he is charged with a message from the Queen of France. The English lieutenant and others say that they are going to kill him nevertheless. Suffolk is proud and imperious. When asked by the First Gentlemen, also a prisoner, to entreat mercy, Suffolk answers haughtily, and is subsequently beheaded.

. . . No, rather let my head
Stoop to the block, than these knees bow to any,
Save to the God of heaven and to my King;
And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
Than stand uncovered to the vulgar groom.
True nobility is exempt from fear.
More can I bear than you dare execute.