Henry VI Part 2

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Sound a sennet. Enter the King, Queen, Cardinal,

Suffolk, York, Buckingham, Salisbury, and Warwick

to the parliament


I muse my Lord of Gloucester is not come;
muse (v.) 1 wonder, be surprised

'Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man,
hindmost (adj.) last to arrive, last in order
wont (n.) custom, habit, practice

Whate'er occasion keeps him from us now.


Can you not see? Or will ye not observe

The strangeness of his altered countenance?
countenance (n.) 3 appearance, aspect, look
strangeness (n.) estrangement, disaffection, coldness, aloofness

With what a majesty he bears himself,

How insolent of late he is become,
insolent (adj.) proud, haughty, arrogant

How proud, how peremptory, and unlike himself?
peremptory (adj.) 2 overbearing, imperious, dictatorial

We know the time since he was mild and affable,

And if we did but glance a far-off look,

Immediately he was upon his knee,

That all the court admired him for submission;
admire (v.) 1 marvel, wonder, be astonished [at]

But meet him now, and be it in the morn,
morn (n.) morning, dawn See Topics: Frequency count

When everyone will give the time of day,
time of day daily greeting

He knits his brow and shows an angry eye,
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow

And passeth by with stiff unbowed knee,

Disdaining duty that to us belongs.
duty (n.) 2 reverence, due respect, proper attitude

Small curs are not regarded when they grin,
grin (v.) bare the teeth, grimace, snarl
regard (v.) 1 take note of, pay heed to, value

But great men tremble when the lion roars;

And Humphrey is no little man in England.

First note that he is near you in descent,
near (adj.) 1 close to the throne [in order of succession], near relation

And should you fall, he is the next will mount.
mount (v.) 1 ascend, rise up, climb

Me seemeth then it is no policy,
policy (n.) 1 statecraft, statesmanship, diplomacy

Respecting what a rancorous mind he bears
respect (v.) 2 bear in mind, consider

And his advantage following your decease,
advantage (n.) 3 benefit, gain, advancement, profit

That he should come about your royal person

Or be admitted to your highness' Council.

By flattery hath he won the commons' hearts,
common (n.) 1 (people) common people, ordinary citizens

And when he please to make commotion,
commotion (n.) 1 insurrection, rebellion, sedition

'Tis to be feared they all will follow him.

Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted;

Suffer them now and they'll o'ergrow the garden,
suffer (v.) 2 put up with, tolerate, do nothing about

And choke the herbs for want of husbandry.

The reverent care I bear unto my lord
reverent (adj.) worthy of respect, holy, religious

Made me collect these dangers in the Duke.
collect (v.) 1 see, perceive, pick up

If it be fond, call it a woman's fear;
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad

Which fear if better reasons can supplant,

I will subscribe and say I wronged the Duke.
subscribe (v.) 1 concur, consent, give assent

My Lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York,

Reprove my allegation if you can;
reprove (v.) disprove, rebut, refute, deny

Or else conclude my words effectual.
effectual (adj.) 2 conclusive, decisive, pertinent


Well hath your highness seen into this Duke;

And had I first been put to speak my mind,

I think I should have told your grace's tale.

The Duchess by his subornation,
subornation (n.) aiding and abetting, inducement to do wrong, instigation

Upon my life, began her devilish practices;
practice (n.) 1 scheme, plot, stratagem, intrigue

Or if he were not privy to those faults,
fault (n.) 1 sin, offence, crime
privy 1 privately aware [of], secretly knowledgeable [about]

Yet by reputing of his high descent,
repute of (v.) think highly of, hold in esteem

As next the King he was successive heir,
successive (adj.) 1 next in descent, legitimate, succeeding

And such high vaunts of his nobility,
vaunt (n.) 1 boast, bragging assertion

Did instigate the bedlam brain-sick Duchess
bedlam (adj.) mad, crazed, frantic

By wicked means to frame our sovereign's fall.
frame (v.) 3 arrange, organize, plan

Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep,

And in his simple show he harbours treason.
show (n.) 1 appearance, exhibition, display
simple (adj.) 5 sincere, honest, open, innocent

The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.

No, no, my sovereign, Gloucester is a man

Unsounded yet and full of deep deceit.
deep (adj.) 5 deeply cunning, profound in craft
unsounded (adj.) unfathomed, unexplored, with unrevealed depths


Did he not, contrary to form of law,

Devise strange deaths for small offences done?


And did he not, in his Protectorship,

Levy great sums of money through the realm

For soldiers' pay in France, and never sent it?

By means whereof the towns each day revolted.


Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown,

Which time will bring to light in smooth Duke Humphrey.
smooth (adj.) 2 plausible, glib, apparently amiable


My lords, at once; the care you have of us,

To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot,
annoy (v.) harm, molest, hurt, injure

Is worthy praise; but, shall I speak my conscience,

Our kinsman Gloucester is as innocent

From meaning treason to our royal person

As is the sucking lamb or harmless dove.

The Duke is virtuous, mild, and too well given
given (adj.) disposed, inclined, minded

To dream on evil or to work my downfall.


Ah, what's more dangerous than this fond affiance?
affiance (n.) 1 confidence, trust, faith
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad

Seems he a dove? His feathers are but borrowed,

For he's disposed as the hateful raven.
disposed (adj.) 3 of a particular disposition, with a turn of mind

Is he a lamb? His skin is surely lent him,
lend (v.) give, grant, bestow [on]

For he's inclined as is the ravenous wolves.

Who cannot steal a shape that means deceit?

Take heed, my lord; the welfare of us all

Hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man.
fraudful fraudulent, treacherous, deceitful

Enter Somerset


All health unto my gracious sovereign!


Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?


That all your interest in those territories

Is utterly bereft you; all is lost.
bereave (v.) 1 take away [from], deprive, deny, rob


Cold news, Lord Somerset; but God's will be done!
cold (adj.) 9 bad, unwelcome, disagreeable



Cold news for me; for I had hope of France

As firmly as I hope for fertile England.

Thus are my blossoms blasted in the bud,

And caterpillars eat my leaves away;

But I will remedy this gear ere long,
gear (n.) 1 business, affair, matter

Or sell my title for a glorious grave.
sell (v.) 1 exchange, trade, give up
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

Enter Gloucester


All happiness unto my lord the King!

Pardon, my liege, that I have stayed so long.
stay (v.) 13 stay away, delay, be absent


Nay, Gloucester, know that thou art come too soon,

Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art.

I do arrest thee of high treason here.


Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blush,

Nor change my countenance for this arrest;
countenance (n.) 2 expression, look, face

A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.
unspotted (adj.) unblemished, unstained, pure

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?


'Tis thought, my lord, that you took bribes of France;

And, being Protector, stayed the soldiers' pay,
stay (v.) 11 retain, keep back, withhold

By means whereof his highness hath lost France.


Is it but thought so? What are they that think it?

I never robbed the soldiers of their pay,

Nor ever had one penny bribe from France.

So help me God, as I have watched the night,
watch (v.) 1 stay awake, keep vigil

Ay, night by night, in studying good for England!

That doit that e'er I wrested from the King,
doit (n.) [small Dutch coin = half an English farthing] trivial sum, worthless amount, trifle See Topics: Money

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,
proper (adj.) 4 personal, private, individual
store (n.) 2 possessions, belongings, property, fortune

Because I would not tax the needy commons,
common (n.) 1 (people) common people, ordinary citizens

Have I disbursed to the garrisons,
dispurse (v.) disburse, pay out, give away

And never asked for restitution.


It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.
serve (v.) 4 be of use, render service, be an advantage [to]


I say no more than truth, so help me God!


In your Protectorship you did devise

Strange tortures for offenders, never heard of,

That England was defamed by tyranny.
defame (v.) dishonour, disgrace, make infamous


Why, 'tis well known that, whiles I was Protector,

Pity was all the fault that was in me;

For I should melt at an offender's tears,

And lowly words were ransom for their fault.
fault (n.) 1 sin, offence, crime
lowly (adj.) 1 humble, modest, submissive

Unless it were a bloody murderer

Or foul felonious thief that fleeced poor passengers,
felonious (adj.) wicked, criminal, iniquitous
fleece (v.) plunder, rob, strip of possessions
passenger (n.) wayfarer, traveller, passer-by

I never gave them condign punishment;
condign (adj.) deserving, well-deserved, fitting

Murder indeed, that bloody sin, I tortured

Above the felon or what trespass else.
trespass (n.) wrong, offence, injustice, crime


My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answered;
answer (v.) 2 explain, excuse, answer satisfactorily
easy (adj.) 1 slight, petty, insignificant
fault (n.) 1 sin, offence, crime

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.
further (adj.) 1 future, eventual
keep (v.) 8 detain, hold in custody, be guarded


My lord of Gloucester, 'tis my special hope

That you will clear yourself from all suspense;
suspense (n.) suspicion, doubt, uncertainty

My conscience tells me you are innocent.


Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous;

Virtue is choked with foul ambition,

And charity chased hence by rancour's hand;
rancour (n.) bitterness, hatred, malice

Foul subornation is predominant,
predominant (adj.) [astrology] in the ascendant, ruling
subornation (n.) aiding and abetting, inducement to do wrong, instigation

And equity exiled your highness' land.
equity (n.) 1 justice, impartiality, fairness

I know their complot is to have my life;
complot (n.) plot, conspiracy, covert plan

And if my death might make this island happy,

And prove the period of their tyranny,
period (n.) 1 full stop, end, ending, conclusion

I would expend it with all willingness.
expend (v.) 1 spend, employ, use

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,
blab (v.) 3 betray, reveal

And Suffolk's cloudy brow his stormy hate;
brow (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, countenance See Topics: Frequency count
cloudy (adj.) 1 sullen, gloomy, scowling

Sharp Buckingham unburdens with his tongue
unburden, unburthen (v.) reveal, disclose; or: unload

The envious load that lies upon his heart;
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

And dogged York, that reaches at the moon,
dogged (adj.) 2 spiteful, malicious, vindictive

Whose overweening arm I have plucked back,
overweening (adj.) arrogant, overambitious, high and mighty

By false accuse doth level at my life.
accuse (n.) accusation, charge
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
level at (v.) 1 aim for, have as a target

And you, my sovereign lady, with the rest,

Causeless have laid disgraces on my head,
causeless (adv.) for no reason, without justification, groundlessly

And with your best endeavour have stirred up

My liefest liege to be mine enemy.
lief (adj.) dear, beloved, cherished

Ay, all you have laid your heads together –

Myself had notice of your conventicles –
conventicle (n.) 2 secret meeting, clandestine gathering

And all to make away my guiltless life.
make away (v.) put an end to, do away with

I shall not want false witness to condemn me,
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt;
store (n.) 1 abundance, plenty, surplus, quantity

The ancient proverb will be well effected:
effect (v.) 2 bring into effect, fulfil, show to be true

‘ A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.’


My liege, his railing is intolerable.
railing (n.) abuse, insulting speech, vilification

If those that care to keep your royal person
care (v.) feel concern, be anxious, trouble oneself
keep (v.) 9 protect, defend, preserve

From treason's secret knife and traitor's rage

Be thus upbraided, chid, and rated at,
rate at (v.) berate, reproach, rebuke, scold

And the offender granted scope of speech,
scope (n.) 3 opportunity, liberty, free course of action

'Twill make them cool in zeal unto your grace.


Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here
twit (v.) taunt, upbraid, reproach

With ignominious words, though clerkly couched,
clerkly (adv.) scholarly, cleverly, adroitly
couched (adj.) phrased, expressed, put into words

As if she had suborned some to swear
suborn (v.) bribe, corrupt, persuade [someone] to commit perjury

False allegations to o'erthrow his state?
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken


But I can give the loser leave to chide.
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count


Far truer spoke than meant. I lose indeed;

Beshrew the winners, for they played me false!
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count
false (adv.) 1 slanderously, faithlessly, with such calumny

And well such losers may have leave to speak.


He'll wrest the sense and hold us here all day.
wrest (v.) 1 distort, twist, strain

Lord Cardinal, he is your prisoner.


Sirs, take away the Duke and guard him sure.
sure (adv.) 1 securely, safely, well


Ah, thus King Henry throws away his crutch

Before his legs be firm to bear his body.

Thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side,

And wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first.
gnarl (v.) snarl, growl

Ah, that my fear were false; ah, that it were!
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken

For, good King Henry, thy decay I fear.
decay (n.) 1 destruction, downfall, ending

Exit Gloucester, guarded by the Cardinal's men


My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best

Do or undo, as if ourself were here.


What, will your highness leave the parliament?


Ay, Margaret; my heart is drowned with grief,

Whose flood begins to flow within mine eyes,

My body round engirt with misery;
engirt (adj.) surrounded, encircled, hemmed in

For what's more miserable than discontent?

Ah, uncle Humphrey, in thy face I see

The map of honour, truth, and loyalty;
map (n.) 2 epitome, embodiment, incarnation

And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come

That e'er I proved thee false or feared thy faith.
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

What lowering star now envies thy estate,
envy, envy at (v.) 1 show malice [towards], hate, regard with ill will
estate (n.) 2 high rank, standing, status
lowering (adj.) ominous, threatening, gloomy

That these great lords, and Margaret our Queen,

Do seek subversion of thy harmless life?
subversion (n.) destruction, overthrow, ruin

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,
dam (n.) mother See Topics: Family

Looking the way her harmless young one went,

And can do naught but wail her darling's loss;

Even so myself bewails good Gloucester's case

With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimmed eyes
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

Look after him, and cannot do him good,
good, do one 2 be of use to, provide assistance to
look after (v.) 1 follow with the eye, look with favour on

So mighty are his vowed enemies.

His fortunes I will weep, and 'twixt each groan

Say ‘Who's a traitor? Gloucester he is none.'

Exit with Buckingham, Salisbury, and Warwick


Free lords, cold snow melts with the sun's hot beams:
free (adj.) 3 noble, honourable, worthy

Henry my lord is cold in great affairs,
cold (adj.) 4 indifferent, unenthusiastic, uninterested

Too full of foolish pity; and Gloucester's show
show (n.) 1 appearance, exhibition, display

Beguiles him as the mournful crocodile

With sorrow snares relenting passengers;
passenger (n.) wayfarer, traveller, passer-by
relenting (adj.) soft-hearted, sympathetic, pitying

Or as the snake rolled in a flowering bank,
rolled (adj.) curled up, coiled

With shining checkered slough, doth sting a child
checkered (adj.) patterned, with varied markings
slough (n.) outer skin

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 –
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

This Gloucester should be quickly rid the world,
rid (v.) 2 remove from, clear away from

To rid us from the fear we have of him.


That he should die is worthy policy;
policy (n.) 1 statecraft, statesmanship, diplomacy
worthy (adj.) 4 good, sensible, shrewd

But yet we want a colour for his death.
colour (n.) 1 pretext, pretence
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need

'Tis meet he be condemned by course of law.
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count


But in my mind that were no policy.
policy (n.) 1 statecraft, statesmanship, diplomacy

The King will labour still to save his life,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

The commons haply rise to save his life;
common (n.) 1 (people) common people, ordinary citizens
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count

And yet we have but trivial argument,
argument (n.) 6 proof, evidence, demonstration
trivial (adj.) slight, poor, insubstantial

More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death.
mistrust (n.) suspicion, distrust, strong doubt


So that, by this, you would not have him die.


Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I.
fain (adj.) 3 fond, inclined [to], apt [to]


'Tis York that hath more reason for his death.

But, my lord Cardinal, and you, my lord of Suffolk,

Say as you think, and speak it from your souls:

Were't not all one, an empty eagle were set
empty (adj.) 1 famished, hungry, having an empty stomach

To guard the chicken from a hungry kite,

As place Duke Humphrey for the King's Protector?


So the poor chicken should be sure of death.


Madam, 'tis true; and were't not madness then

To make the fox surveyor of the fold?
surveyor (n.) 2 guardian, supervisor, overseer

Who being accused a crafty murderer,

His guilt should be but idly posted over
idly (adv.) 1 foolishly, crazily, frivolously
post over (v.) pass over, disregard, go through with haste

Because his purpose is not executed.
execute (v.) 1 carry out, fulfil, perform
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

No; let him die, in that he is a fox,

By nature proved an enemy to the flock,

Before his chaps be stained with crimson blood,

As Humphrey, proved by reasons, to my liege.

And do not stand on quillets how to slay him;
quillet (n.) quibble, equivocation, hair-splitting distinction
stand on (v.) 1 insist on, demand, call for

Be it by gins, by snares, by subtlety,
gin (n.) snare, trap

Sleeping or waking, 'tis no matter how,

So he be dead; for that is good deceit

Which mates him first that first intends deceit.
mate (v.) 4 checkmate, overcome, finish off


Thrice-noble Suffolk, 'tis resolutely spoke.


Not resolute, except so much were done;

For things are often spoke and seldom meant;

But that my heart accordeth with my tongue,

Seeing the deed is meritorious,

And to preserve my sovereign from his foe,

Say but the word and I will be his priest.


But I would have him dead, my lord of Suffolk,

Ere you can take due orders for a priest.
order, take make arrangements

Say you consent and censure well the deed,
censure (v.) 1 judge, think of, give an opinion of [not involving blame]

And I'll provide his executioner;

I tender so the safety of my liege.
tender (v.) 2 feel concern for, hold dear, care for


Here is my hand; the deed is worthy doing.


And so say I.


And I; and now we three have spoke it,

It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.
doom (n.) 1 judgement, sentence, decision
impugn (v.) call into question, dispute the validity of
skill (v.) matter, make a difference, be of importance

Enter a Post
amain (adv.) 1 in all haste, at full speed


Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain,

To signify that rebels there are up
signify (v.) report, make known, declare
up (adv.) 1 up in arms, in rebellion, in revolt

And put the Englishmen unto the sword.

Send succours, lords, and stop the rage betime,
betime (adv.) 2 in good time, early on
rage (n.) 3 violence, fighting, conflict
succour (n.) 2 reinforcements, military assistance

Before the wound do grow uncurable;

For, being green, there is great hope of help.
green (adj.) 1 fresh, recent, new


A breach that craves a quick expedient stop!
breach (n.) 2 outbreak, uprising, insurrection
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require
expedient (adj.) speedy, rapid, expeditious
stop (n.) 7 filling up, plugging, sealing

What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
cause (n.) 4 affair, business, subject


That Somerset be sent as Regent thither.

'Tis meet that lucky ruler be employed;
lucky (adj.) fortunate, successful, prosperous
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

Witness the fortune he hath had in France.


If York, with all his far-fet policy,
far-fet (adj.) cunning, scheming, devious

Had been the Regent there instead of me,

He never would have stayed in France so long.


No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done.

I rather would have lost my life betimes
betimes (adv.) 3 speedily, soon, in a short time

Than bring a burden of dishonour home,

By staying there so long till all were lost.

Show me one scar charactered on thy skin;
character (v.) inscribe, engrave, write

Men's flesh preserved so whole do seldom win.


Nay then, this spark will prove a raging fire

If wind and fuel be brought to feed it with.

No more, good York; sweet Somerset, be still.
still (adj.) 1 silent, quiet

Thy fortune, York, hadst thou been Regent there,

Might happily have proved far worse than his.
happily (adv.) 1 perhaps, by chance, maybe


What, worse than naught? Nay, then a shame take all!


And, in the number, thee that wishest shame!


My lord of York, try what your fortune is.

Th' uncivil kerns of Ireland are in arms
kern (n.) lightly armed Irish foot-soldier
uncivil (adj.) uncivilized, barbarous, unrefined

And temper clay with blood of Englishmen;
clay (n.) earth, ground, mud
temper (v.) 3 soften, moisten, mix [with]

To Ireland will you lead a band of men,

Collected choicely, from each county some,
choicely (adv.) carefully, with great discrimination

And try your hap against the Irishmen?
hap (n.) 1 fortune, lot, fate


I will, my lord, so please his majesty.


Why, our authority is his consent,

And what we do establish he confirms.

Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.


I am content. Provide me soldiers, lords,
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count

Whiles I take order for mine own affairs.
order, take make arrangements


A charge, Lord York, that I will see performed.
charge (n.) 4 commission, responsibility, official duty

But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count


No more of him; for I will deal with him

That henceforth he shall trouble us no more.

And so break off, the day is almost spent.
break off (v.) 2 stop talking, finish a discussion

Lord Suffolk, you and I must talk of that event.
event (n.) outcome, issue, consequence


My Lord of Suffolk, within fourteen days

At Bristow I expect my soldiers;

For there I'll ship them all for Ireland.


I'll see it truly done, my lord of York.

Exeunt all but York


Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts,
fearful (adj.) 1 timid, timorous, frightened, full of fear

And change misdoubt to resolution;
misdoubt (n.) suspicion, mistrust, doubtfulness

Be that thou hopest to be, or what thou art

Resign to death; it is not worth th' enjoying.

Let pale-faced fear keep with the mean-born man,
keep (v.) 1 lodge, live, dwell
mean-born (adj.) low-born, of humble birth

And find no harbour in a royal heart.

Faster than spring-time showers comes thought on thought,

And not a thought but thinks on dignity.
dignity (n.) 2 official position, high office, rule

My brain, more busy than the labouring spider,

Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies.
tedious (adj.) 1 laborious, painstaking, wearyingly intricate

Well, nobles, well; 'tis politicly done,
politicly (adv.) in a politic manner, strategically, shrewdly

To send me packing with an host of men.

I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
starved (adj.) 1 frozen-stiff, near-perished with cold

Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts.

'Twas men I lacked, and you will give them me;

I take it kindly; yet be well assured

You put sharp weapons in a madman's hands.

Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band,

I will stir up in England some black storm

Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell;

And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage

Until the golden circuit on my head,
circuit (n.) 2 crown, circlet, diadem

Like to the glorious sun's transparent beams,
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw.
flaw (n.) 1 gust, squall, blast
mad-bred (adj.) produced by madness

And, for a minister of my intent,
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count
minister (n.) messenger, agent, servant

I have seduced a headstrong Kentishman,

John Cade of Ashford,

To make commotion, as full well he can,
commotion (n.) 1 insurrection, rebellion, sedition

Under the title of John Mortimer.

In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade

Oppose himself against a troop of kerns,
kern (n.) lightly armed Irish foot-soldier

And fought so long till that his thighs with darts
dart (n.) arrow; or: light spear

Were almost like a sharp-quilled porpentine;
porpentine (n.) porcupine

And, in the end being rescued, I have seen

Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,
morisco (n.) morris dancer

Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.

Full often, like a shag-haired crafty kern,
kern (n.) lightly armed Irish foot-soldier
shag-haired (adj.) having shaggy hair, rough-haired

Hath he conversed with the enemy,

And undiscovered come to me again

And given me notice of their villainies.

This devil here shall be my substitute;

For that John Mortimer, which now is dead,

In face, in gait, in speech, he doth resemble;

By this I shall perceive the commons' mind,
common (n.) 1 (people) common people, ordinary citizens

How they affect the house and claim of York.
affect (v.) 1 incline to, like, favour, be drawn to

Say he be taken, racked, and tortured,
rack (v.) 6 stretch on the rack

I know no pain they can inflict upon him

Will make him say I moved him to those arms.
move (v.) 3 encourage, instigate, prompt

Say that he thrive, as 'tis great like he will,
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count
like, great very likely

Why, then from Ireland come I with my strength,
strength (n.) 1 troops, forces, resources, followers

And reap the harvest which that rascal sowed;

For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be,

And Henry put apart, the next for me.


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