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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act I. Scene IV.

The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth



Hume.Come, my masters; the duchess, I tell you, expects performance of your promises.

Boling.Master Hume, we are therefore provided. Will her ladyship behold and hear our exorcisms?

Hume.Ay; what else? fear you not her courage.

Boling.I have heard her reported to be a woman of invincible spirit: but it shall be convenient, Master Hume, that you be by her aloft while we be busy below; and so, I pray you, go in God’s name, and leave us.[Exit HUME.]Mother Jourdain, be you prostrate, and grovel on the earth; John Southwell, read you; and let us to our work.

Enter DUCHESS aloft, HUME following.

Duch.Well said, my masters, and welcome all.

To this gear the sooner the better.

Boling.Patience, good lady; wizards know their times:

Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night,

The time of night when Troy was set on fire;

The time when screech-owls cry, and ban-dogs howl,

And spirits walk, and ghosts break up their graves,

That time best fits the work we have in hand.

Madam, sit you, and fear not: whom we raise

We will make fast within a hallow’d verge.[Here they perform the ceremonies belonging, and make the circle; BOLINGBROKE, or SOUTHWELL reads, Conjuro te, &c.It thunders and lightens terribly; then the Spirit riseth.


M. Jourd.Asmath!

By the eternal God, whose name and power

Thou tremblest at, answer that I shall ask;

For till thou speak, thou shalt not pass from hence.

Spir.Ask what thou wilt. That I had said and done!

Boling.First, of the king: what shall of him become?

Spir.The Duke yet lives that Henry shall depose;

But him outlive, and die a violent death.[As the Spirit speaks, SOUTHWELL writes the answers.

Boling.What fate awaits the Duke of Suffolk?

Spir.By water shall he die and take his end.

Boling.What shall befall the Duke of Somerset?

Spir.Let him shun castles:

Safer shall he be upon the sandy plains

Than where castles mounted stand.

Have done, for more I hardly can endure.

Boling.Descend to darkness and the burning lake!

False fiend, avoid![Thunder and lightning.Spirit descends.

Enter YORK and BUCKINGHAM, hastily, with their Guards, and Others.

York.Lay hands upon these traitors and their trash.

Beldam, I’think we watch’d you at an inch.

What! madam, are you there? the king and commonweal

Are deeply indebted for this piece of pains:

My Lord Protector will, I doubt it not,

See you well guerdon’d for these good deserts.

Duch.Not half so bad as thine to England’s king,

Injurious duke, that threat’st where is no cause.

Buck.True, madam, none at all. What call you this?[Showing her the papers.

Away with them! let them be clapp’d up close

And kept asunder. You, madam, shall with us:

Stafford, take her to thee.—[Exeunt above, DUCHESS and HUME guarded.

We’ll see your trinkets here all forthcoming.

All, away![Exeunt SOUTHWELL, BOLINGBROKE, &c., guarded.

York.Lord Buckingham, methinks you watch’d her well:

A pretty plot, well chosen to build upon!

Now, pray, my lord, let’s see the devil’s writ.

What have we here?

The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose;

But him outlive, and die a violent death.

Why, this is just,

Aio te, Æacida, Romanos vincere posse.

Well, to the rest:

Tell me what fate awaits the Duke of Suffolk?

By water shall he die and take his end.

What shall betide the Duke of Somerset?

Let him shun castles:

Safer shall he be upon the sandy plains

Than where castles mounted stand.

Come, come, my lords; these oracles

Are hardly attain’d, and hardly understood.

The king is now in progress towards Saint Alban’s;

With him, the husband of this lovely lady:

Thither go these news as fast as horse can carry them,

A sorry breakfast for my Lord Protector.

Buck.Your Grace shall give me leave, my Lord of York,

To be the post, in hope of his reward.

York.At your pleasure, my good lord. Who’s within there, ho!

Enter a Serving-man.

Invite my Lords of Salisbury and Warwick

To sup with me to-morrow night. Away![Flourish.Exeunt.