Henry VI Part 2

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter York and his army of Irish, with drum and



From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
colours (n.) 2 colour-ensigns, standard-bearers

And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head.

Ring, bells, aloud; burn bonfires clear and bright,

To entertain great England's lawful king.
entertain (v.) 2 welcome, receive kindly, treat well, show hospitality to

Ah, sancta majestas! Who would not buy thee dear?
sancta... sacred majesty See Topics: Latin

Let them obey that knows not how to rule;

This hand was made to handle naught but gold.

I cannot give due action to my words,
due (adj.) appropriate, proper, fitting

Except a sword or sceptre balance it.
balance (v.) add weight to, make up for

A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,

On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
fleur-de-lis, flower-de-luce (n.) heraldic lily [royal symbol of France]
toss (v.) 2 carry aloft, impale

Enter Buckingham

Whom have we here? Buckingham to disturb me?

The King hath sent him, sure; I must dissemble.
dissemble (v.) 2 deceive, disguise the truth, pretend
sure (adv.) 2 surely, assuredly, certainly


York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.


Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.

Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?


A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe

To know the reason of these arms in peace;
arms (n.) 1 weapons, armaments

Or why thou, being a subject as I am,

Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,

Should raise so great a power without his leave,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Or dare to bring thy force so near the court?



Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great.
choler (n.) anger, rage, wrath

O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,

I am so angry at these abject terms;
abject (adj.) mean-spirited, despicable, contemptible
term (n.) 1 word, expression, utterance

And now, like Ajax Telamonius,

On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
spend (v.) 2 expend, express, give vent to

I am far better born than is the King,

More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts;

But I must make fair weather yet awhile,

Till Henry be more weak and I more strong. –

Buckingham, I prithee pardon me,

That I have given no answer all this while;

My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.

The cause why I have brought this army hither

Is to remove proud Somerset from the King,

Seditious to his grace and to the state.


That is too much presumption on thy part;

But if thy arms be to no other end,

The King hath yielded unto thy demand:

The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.


Upon thine honour, is he prisoner?


Upon mine honour, he is prisoner.


Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;

Meet me tomorrow in Saint George's Field,

You shall have pay and everything you wish.

Exeunt soldiers

And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry,

Command my eldest son – nay, all my sons –
command (v.) 2 have at one's disposal, be entrusted with

As pledges of my fealty and love;
fealty (n.) [feudal obligation of obedience] duty of loyalty, allegiance, fidelity
pledge (n.) 2 guarantor, surety

I'll send them all as willing as I live.

Lands, goods, horse, armour, anything I have,

Is his to use, so Somerset may die.


York, I commend this kind submission;
commend (v.) 4 praise, admire, extol

We twain will go into his highness' tent.

Enter the King and attendants


Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,

That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?


In all submission and humility

York doth present himself unto your highness.


Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?


To heave the traitor Somerset from hence,

And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
monstrous (adj.) unnatural, outlandish, aberrant

Who since I heard to be discomfited.
discomfit (v.) 1 defeat, overthrow, beat

Enter Iden, with Cade's head
condition (n.) 4 position, social rank, station
mean (adj.) 1 of low rank, inferior in position, less important
rude (adj.) 4 uncivilized, uncultivated, unrefined


If one so rude and of so mean condition

May pass into the presence of a king,

Lo, I present your grace a traitor's head,

The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.


The head of Cade? Great God, how just art Thou!

O, let me view his visage, being dead,
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
exceeding (adj.) very great, huge, exceptional
work (v.), past form wrought 2 perform, do, carry out

Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?


I was, an't like your majesty.
like (v.) 1 please, suit See Topics: Politeness


How art thou called? And what is thy degree?
degree (n.) 1 rank, station, standing


Alexander Iden, that's my name,

A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.


So please it you, my lord, 'twere not amiss

He were created knight for his good service.


Iden, kneel down.

Iden kneels

                         Rise up a knight.

We give thee for reward a thousand marks,

And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]
will (v.), past form would 2 command, order, direct


May Iden live to merit such a bounty,

And never live but true unto his liege.

Enter the Queen and Somerset


See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with th' Queen;

Go, bid her hide him quickly from the Duke.


For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,

But boldly stand and front him to his face.
front (v.) 1 confront, face, meet


How now? Is Somerset at liberty?

Then, York, unloose thy long-imprisoned thoughts

And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.

Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?

False King! Why hast thou broken faith with me,
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
abuse (n.) 1 deception, hoax, fraud
brook (v.) 1 endure, tolerate, put up with
hardly (adv.) 1 with great difficulty, only with difficulty

‘ King ’ did I call thee? No, thou art not king;

Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,

Which darest not – no, nor canst not – rule a traitor.

That head of thine doth not become a crown;
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff,
palmer (n.) pilgrim

And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
awful (adj.) 1 awe-inspiring, worthy of respect

That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
engirt (v.) encircle, enclose
gold (n.) 2 golden state, object made of gold

Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

Is able with the change to kill and cure.

Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up,

And with the same to act controlling laws.
act (v.) 2 enact, enforce, bring about

Give place; by heaven, thou shalt rule no more
place (n.) 6 way, room

O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.


O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,

Of capital treason 'gainst the King and crown.

Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.


Wouldst have me kneel? First let me ask of these

If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
brook (v.) 2 allow, permit, bear

Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail;

Exit an attendant

I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
ward (n.) 6 custody, imprisonment

They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
enfranchisement (n.) freedom, liberation, release


Call hither Clifford; bid him come amain,
amain (adv.) 1 in all haste, at full speed

To say if that the bastard boys of York

Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
surety (n.) 2 person undertaking a legal responsibility in relation to another, guarantor

Exit an attendant


O blood-bespotted Neapolitan,

Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!

The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,

Shall be their father's bail, and bane to those
bane (n.) 1 ruin, woe, destruction

That for my surety will refuse the boys.

Enter at one door Edward and Richard with their army
make good 2 perform well, succeed in carrying out
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

See where they come; I'll warrant they'll make it good.

Enter at another door Clifford and Young Clifford

with an army


And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]


Health and all happiness to my lord the King!

He kneels


I thank thee, Clifford; say, what news with thee?

Nay, do not fright us with an angry look.
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count

We are thy sovereign, Clifford; kneel again.

For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.


This is my king, York; I do not mistake;

But thou mistakes me much to think I do.

To Bedlam with him! Is the man grown mad?
Bedlam (n./adj.) colloquial form of Bethlehem Hospital for the insane, in London See Topics: London


Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
bedlam (adj.) mad, crazed, frantic

Makes him oppose himself against his king.
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count


He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,

And chop away that factious pate of his.
factious (adj.) 3 rebellious, seditious
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count


He is arrested, but will not obey;

His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.


Will you not, sons?


Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.


And if words will not, then our weapons shall.


Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!


Look in a glass and call thy image so;
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.
false-heart (adj.) false-hearted, treacherous

Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
stake (n.) 2 [bear-baiting] post to which a bear is chained

That with the very shaking of their chains

They may astonish these fell-lurking curs:
astonish, 'stonish (v.) 1 fill with wonder, amaze, astound
fell-lurking (adj.) savagely waiting, fierce in attendance

Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.

Enter the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury with an



Are these thy bears? We'll bait thy bears to death,
bait (v.) 1 harass, persecute, torment

And manacle the bearard in their chains,
bearherd, bear-herd, bearard, bearward, berrord (n.) bear-keeper, bear-handler [for dancing or baiting]

If thou darest bring them to the baiting-place.
baiting-place (n.) bear-baiting pit


Oft have I seen a hot o'erweening cur
hot (adj.) 1 hot-tempered, angry, passionate
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count
overweening (adj.) arrogant, overambitious, high and mighty

Run back and bite, because he was withheld;

Who, being suffered with the bear's fell paw,
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage
suffer (v.) 7 injure, wound, hurt

Hath clapped his tail between his legs and cried;

And such a piece of service will you do,

If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.


Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
indigested (adj.) improperly formed, uncompleted

As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
crooked (adj.) 1 malignant, perverse, contrary, devious


Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count


Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.


Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?

Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,

Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!

What, wilt thou on thy deathbed play the ruffian,

And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
spectacles (n.) 2 eye-glasses

O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?

If it be banished from the frosty head,
frosty (adj.) hoary, white-haired

Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?

Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,

And shame thine honourable age with blood?

Why art thou old and wantest experience?
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
abuse (v.) 2 misuse, maltreat, treat badly, wrong

For shame! In duty bend thy knee to me,

That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
mickle (adj.) great, much, large


My lord, I have considered with myself

The title of this most renowned Duke;

And in my conscience do repute his grace
repute (v.) consider, think, reckon

The rightful heir to England's royal seat.


Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?


I have.


Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
dispense with (v.) 3 gain exemption from, set aside, dissolve


It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
swear (v.) promise, vow, pledge

But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.

Who can be bound by any solemn vow

To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,

To force a spotless virgin's chastity,

To reave the orphan of his patrimony,

To wring the widow from her customed right,
customed (adj.) 2 legally sanctioned, established by custom

And have no other reason for this wrong

But that he was bound by a solemn oath?


A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
sophister (n.) sophist, cunning reasoner, clever debater
subtle, subtile (adj.) 1 crafty, cunning, wily


Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.


Call Buckingham and all the friends thou hast,

I am resolved for death or dignity.
dignity (n.) 2 official position, high office, rule
resolved (adj.) 1 determined, settled, decided


The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count


You were best to go to bed and dream again,

To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count


I am resolved to bear a greater storm

Than any thou canst conjure up today;

And that I'll write upon thy burgonet,
burgonet (n.) [type of] small light helmet See Topics: Body-armour

Might I but know thee by thy house's badge.
badge (n.) 3 crest, emblem


Now by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,
badge (n.) 3 crest, emblem

The rampant bear chained to the ragged staff,
ragged (adj.) 2 broken, jagged, fragmented

This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,
burgonet (n.) [type of] small light helmet See Topics: Body-armour

As on a mountain top the cedar shows,

That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,

Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
affright (v.) frighten, terrify, scare


And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear
burgonet (n.) [type of] small light helmet See Topics: Body-armour

And tread it under foot with all contempt,

Despite the bearard that protects the bear.
bearherd, bear-herd, bearard, bearward, berrord (n.) bear-keeper, bear-handler [for dancing or baiting]


And so to arms, victorious father,

To quell the rebels and their complices.
complice (n.) accomplice, confederate, associate


Fie, charity, for shame! Speak not in spite,
spite (n.) 1 annoyance, vexation, irritation

For you shall sup with Jesu Christ tonight.
sup (v.) 1 have supper See Topics: Frequency count


Foul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell.
stigmatic (n.) misshapen individual, person marked by physical deformity


If not in heaven, you'll surely sup in hell.


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