Henry VI Part 2

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Gloucester and his men in mourning cloaks


Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;

And after summer evermore succeeds
succeed (v.) 1 follow on, ensue, come after

Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold;

So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
fleet (v.) 1 turn, pass, change

Sirs, what's o'clock?


                         Ten, my lord.


Ten is the hour that was appointed me

To watch the coming of my punished duchess;
watch (v.) 3 be on the watch for, look out for

Uneath may she endure the flinty streets,
flinty (adj.) hard, harsh, tough
uneath (adv.) with difficulty, not easily, hardly

To tread them with her tender-feeling feet.

Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook
abrook (v.) brook, endure, bear
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

The abject people gazing on thy face
abject (adj.) mean-spirited, despicable, contemptible

With envious looks, laughing at thy shame,
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

That erst did follow thy proud chariot wheels
erst (adv.) 1 formerly, once, before

When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.

But soft, I think she comes; and I'll prepare

My tear-stained eyes to see her miseries.

Enter the Duchess of Gloucester barefoot, in a white

sheet and verses written on her back and pinned on and

a taper burning in her hand, with Sir John Stanley,

the Sheriff, and officers with bills and halberds


So please your grace, we'll take her from the Sheriff.


No, stir not for your lives; let her pass by.


Come you, my lord, to see my open shame?

Now thou dost penance too. Look how they gaze!

See how the giddy multitude do point
giddy (adj.) 1 frivolous, flighty, fickle, irresponsible

And nod their heads and throw their eyes on thee.

Ah, Gloucester, hide thee from their hateful looks,
hateful (adj.) 1 full of hate

And, in thy closet pent up, rue my shame,
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room
pent up (v.) shut up, confine, lock in
rue (v.) pity, grieve for, feel for

And ban thine enemies, both mine and thine.
ban (v.) 1 curse, damn, revile


Be patient, gentle Nell; forget this grief.
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind


Ah, Gloucester, teach me to forget myself;

For whilst I think I am thy married wife,

And thou a prince, Protector of this land,

Methinks I should not thus be led along,
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Mailed up in shame, with papers on my back,
mail up (v.) wrap up, envelop, encase

And followed with a rabble that rejoice

To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
deep-fet (adj.) draw from deep within

The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet,
ruthless (adj.) unpitying, pitiless, unsparing

And when I start, the envious people laugh
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count
start (v.) 1 jump, recoil, flinch

And bid me be advised how I tread.
advise, avise (v.) 2 warn, counsel, caution

Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?

Trowest thou that e'er I'll look upon the world,
trow (v.) 2 think, expect, believe

Or count them happy that enjoys the sun?

No, dark shall be my light, and night my day;

To think upon my pomp shall be my hell.
pomp (n.) 2 greatness, nobility, high estate

Sometime I'll say I am Duke Humphrey's wife,
sometime (adv.) 2 sometimes, now and then

And he a prince and ruler of the land;

Yet so he ruled and such a prince he was

As he stood by whilst I, his forlorn duchess,
forlorn (adj.) 1 wretched, abandoned, destitute

Was made a wonder and a pointing-stock
pointing-stock (n.) object to be pointed at, laughing-stock, butt
wonder (n.) 2 object of fascination, target of astonishment

To every idle rascal follower.
rascal (adj.) worthless, good-for-nothing

But be thou mild and blush not at my shame,

Nor stir at nothing till the axe of death

Hang over thee, as sure it shortly will;

For Suffolk, he that can do all in all

With her that hateth thee and hates us all,

And York, and impious Beaufort, that false priest,
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

Have all limed bushes to betray thy wings;
lime (v.) 2 add birdlime to

And fly thou how thou canst, they'll tangle thee.

But fear not thou until thy foot be snared,

Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
prevention (n.) 1 forestalling action, preventive measure


Ah, Nell, forbear! Thou aimest all awry;
aim (v.) guess, conjecture, surmise
awry (adv.) mistakenly, wrongly, erroneously
forbear (v.) 1 stop, cease, desist See Topics: Frequency count

I must offend before I be attainted;
attaint (v.) 3 accuse of treason, condemn

And had I twenty times so many foes,

And each of them had twenty times their power,

All these could not procure me any scathe
procure (v.) 3 contrive for, devise for, bring about
scath, scathe (n.) harm, hurt, damage
true (adj.) 1 loyal, firm, faithful in allegiance

So long as I am loyal, true, and crimeless.

Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?

Why, yet thy scandal were not wiped away,
scandal (n.) 1 shame, discredit, disgrace

But I in danger for the breach of law.

Thy greatest help is quiet, gentle Nell.
quiet (n.) calmness, peace of mind, serenity

I pray thee sort thy heart to patience;
sort (v.) 7 fashion, frame, adapt

These few days' wonder will be quickly worn.
wonder (n.) 6 calamity, disaster, tragedy
worn (adj.) worn out, exhausted, spent

Enter a Herald


I summon your grace to his majesty's parliament,

Holden at Bury the first of this next month.


And my consent ne'er asked herein before!

This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.
close (adj.) 4 secret, covert, underhanded

Exit Herald

My Nell, I take my leave; and, Master Sheriff,

Let not her penance exceed the King's commission.
commission (n.) 1 warrant, authority [to act]


An't please your grace, here my commission stays,
commission (n.) 1 warrant, authority [to act]
stay (v.) 9 stop, halt, come to a standstill

And Sir John Stanley is appointed now

To take her with him to the Isle of Man.


Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?
protect (v.) act as escort for, be custodian of


So am I given in charge, may't please your grace.
give in charge give orders, command, direct


Entreat her not the worse in that I pray
entreat, intreat (v.) 4 treat, handle, deal with

You use her well. The world may laugh again;

And I may live to do you kindness if

You do it her. And so, Sir John, farewell.


What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell?


Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.

Exit Gloucester with his men


Art thou gone too? All comfort go with thee!

For none abides with me; my joy is death –

Death, at whose name I oft have been afeard,
afeard (adj.) afraid, frightened, scared See Topics: Frequency count
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Because I wished this world's eternity.
eternity (n.) perpetual existence, lasting for ever

Stanley, I prithee, go and take me hence;

I care not whither, for I beg no favour;

Only convey me where thou art commanded.


Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man,

There to be used according to your state.
state (n.) 2 status, rank, position
use (v.) 2 treat, deal with, manage


That's bad enough, for I am but reproach;
reproach (n.) 2 someone deserving of blame, source of disgrace

And shall I then be used reproachfully?


Like to a duchess and Duke Humphrey's lady,
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

According to that state you shall be used.


Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count

Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.
conduct (n.) 5 escort, attendant, guide


It is my office; and, madam, pardon me.
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count


Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharged.
discharge (v.) 1 fulfil, execute, perform

Come, Stanley, shall we go?


Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,

And go we to attire you for our journey.


My shame will not be shifted with my sheet.
shift (v.) 3 change, exchange, swap

No; it will hang upon my richest robes

And show itself, attire me how I can.

Go, lead the way; I long to see my prison.


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