Act II, Scene 1

ACT II.

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SCENE 1. Westminster. A street.

[Enter two Gentlemen at several doors.]

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Whither away so fast?

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
O, God save ye!
Even to the hall, to hear what shall become
Of the great Duke of Buckingham.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
I'll save you
That labour, sir. All's now done, but the ceremony
Of bringing back the prisoner.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Were you there?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Yes, indeed, was I.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Pray, speak what has happen'd.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
You may guess quickly what.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Is he found guilty?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Yes, truly is he, and condemn'd upon't.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
I am sorry for't.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
So are a number more.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
But, pray, how pass'd it?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
I'll tell you in a little. The great Duke
Came to the bar; where to his accusations
He pleaded still not guilty and alleged
Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.
The King's attorney on the contrary
Urg'd on the examinations, proofs, confessions
Of divers witnesses; which the Duke desir'd
To have brought viva voce to his face;
At which appear'd against him his surveyor;
Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car,
Confessor to him, with that devil-monk,
Hopkins, that made this mischief.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
That was he
That fed him with his prophecies?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
The same.
All these accus'd him strongly; which he fain
Would have flung from him, but, indeed, he could not.
And so his peers, upon this evidence,
Have found him guilty of high treason. Much
He spoke, and learnedly, for life; but all
Was either pitied in him or forgotten.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
After all this, how did he bear himself?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
When he was brought again to the bar, to hear
His knell rung out, his judgment, he was stirr'd
With such an agony, he sweat extremely,
And something spoke in choler, ill, and hasty.
But he fell to himself again, and sweetly
In all the rest show'd a most noble patience.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
I do not think he fears death.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Sure, he does not;
He never was so womanish. The cause
He may a little grieve at.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Certainly
The Cardinal is the end of this.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
'Tis likely,
By all conjectures: first, Kildare's attainder,
Then deputy of Ireland; who remov'd,
Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too,
Lest he should help his father.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
That trick of state
Was a deep envious one.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
At his return
No doubt he will requite it. This is noted,
And generally, whoever the King favours,
The Cardinal instantly will find employment,
And far enough from court too.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
All the commons
Hate him perniciously, and, o' my conscience,
Wish him ten fathom deep. This duke as much
They love and dote on; call him bounteous Buckingham,
The mirror of all courtesy,--

[Enter Buckingham from his arraignment; tipstaves before him;
the axe with the edge towards him; halberds on each side;
accompanied with Sir Thomas Lovell, Sir Nicholas Vaux, Sir
William Sandys, and common people.]

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Stay there, sir,
And see the noble ruin'd man you speak of.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Let's stand close, and behold him.

BUCKINGHAM.
All good people,
You that thus far have come to pity me,
Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.
I have this day receiv'd a traitor's judgement,
And by that name must die; yet, Heaven bear witness,
And if I have a conscience, let it sink me,
Even as the axe falls, if I be not faithful!
The law I bear no malice for my death;
'T has done, upon the premises, but justice;
But those that sought it I could wish more Christians.
Be what they will, I heartily forgive 'em;
Yet let 'em look they glory not in mischief,
Nor build their evils on the graves of great men,
For then my guiltless blood must cry against 'em.
For further life in this world I ne'er hope,
Nor will I sue, although the King have mercies
More than I dare make faults. You few that lov'd me
And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,
His noble friends and fellows, whom to leave
Is only bitter to him, only dying,
Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
And, as the long divorce of steel falls on...

(The entire section is 5,982 words.)