William Shakespeare: Henry VI (Pt 2), Act II
Enter King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, Gloucester, Cardinal, and Suffolk, with Falconers halloing
Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook,
I saw not better sport these seven years' day:
Yet, by your leave, the wind was very high;
And, ten to one, old Joan had not gone out.
But what a point, my lord, your falcon made,
And what a pitch she flew above the rest!
To see how God in all his creatures works!
Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.
No marvel, an it like your majesty,
My lord protector's hawks do tower so well;
They know their master loves to be aloft,
And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.
Ay, my lord cardinal? how think you by that?
Were it not good your grace could fly to heaven?
Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and thoughts
Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart;
Pernicious protector, dangerous peer,
That smooth'st it so with king and commonweal!
What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown peremptory?
Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?
Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such malice;
With such holiness can you do it?
I prithee, peace, good queen,
And whet not on these furious peers;
For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.
Aside to Cardinal
Make up no factious numbers for the matter;
In thine own person answer thy abuse.
Aside to Gloucester
Ay, where thou darest not peep: an if thou darest,
This evening, on the east side of the grove.
Believe me, cousin Gloucester,
Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,
We had had more sport.
Aside to Gloucester
Come with thy two-hand sword.
Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.
Aside to Cardinal
Now, by God's mother, priest, I'll shave your crown for this,
Or all my fence shall fail.
The winds grow high; so do your stomachs, lords.
How irksome is this music to my heart!
When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?
I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.
Enter a Townsman of Saint Alban's, crying 'A miracle!'
Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban's shrine,
Within this half-hour, hath received his sight;
A man that ne'er saw in his life before.
Now, God be praised, that to believing souls
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!
Enter the Mayor of Saint Alban's and his brethren, bearing Simpcox, between two in a chair, Simpcox's Wife following
Great is his comfort in this earthly vale,
Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.
Stand by, my masters: bring him near the king;
His highness' pleasure is to talk with him.
Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,
That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
What, hast thou been long blind and now restored?
Poor soul, God's goodness hath been great to thee:
Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.
Tell me, good fellow, camest thou here by chance,
Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?
God knows, of pure devotion; being call'd
A hundred times and oftener, in my sleep,
By good Saint Alban; who said, 'Simpcox, come,
Come, offer at my shrine, and I will help thee.'
A subtle knave! but yet it shall not serve.
Let me see thine eyes: wink now: now open them:
In my opinion yet thou seest not well.
Then, Saunder, sit there, the lyingest knave in Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind, thou mightest as well have known all our names as thus to name the several colours we do wear. Sight may distinguish of colours, but suddenly to nominate them all, it is impossible. My lords, Saint Alban here hath done a miracle; and would ye not think his cunning to be great, that could restore this cripple to his legs again?
Exit an Attendant
Now fetch me a stool hither by and by. Now, sirrah, if you mean to save yourself from whipping, leap me over this stool and run away.
Enter a Beadle with whips
Well, sir, we must have you find your legs. Sirrah beadle, whip him till he leap over that same stool.
After the Beadle hath hit him once, he leaps over the stool and runs away; and they follow and cry, 'A miracle!'
Let them be whipped through every market-town, till they come to Berwick, from whence they came.
Exeunt Wife, Beadle, Mayor, &c
Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold.
A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
Under the countenance and confederacy
Of Lady Eleanor, the protector's wife,
The ringleader and head of all this rout,
Have practised dangerously against your state,
Dealing with witches and with conjurers:
Whom we have apprehended in the fact;
Raising up wicked spirits from under ground,
Demanding of King Henry's life and death,
And other of your highness' privy-council;
As more at large your grace shall understand.
Aside to Gloucester
And so, my lord protector, by this means
Your lady is forthcoming yet at London.
This news, I think, hath turn'd your weapon's edge;
'Tis like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.
Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart:
Sorrow and grief have vanquish'd all my powers;
And, vanquish'd as I am, I yield to thee,
Or to the meanest groom.
O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,
Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!
Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest.
And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.
Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal,
How I have loved my king and commonweal:
And, for my wife, I know not how it stands;
Sorry I am to hear what I have heard:
Noble she is, but if she have forgot
Honour and virtue and conversed with such
As, like to pitch, defile nobility,
I banish her my bed and company
And give her as a prey to law and shame,
That hath dishonour'd Gloucester's honest name.
Well, for this night we will repose us here:
To-morrow toward London back again,
To look into this business thoroughly
And call these foul offenders to their answers
And poise the cause in justice' equal scales,
Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause prevails.