William Shakespeare: King Henry VI, Second Part

4. SCENE IV. London. The Palace.

[Enter the KING with a supplication, and the QUEEN with Suffolk's
head, the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM and the LORD SAY.]

Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind
And makes it fearful and degenerate;
Think therefore on revenge and cease to weep.
But who can cease to weep and look on this?
Here may his head lie on my throbbing breast;
But where's the body that I should embrace?

What answer makes your grace to the rebels'

I'll send some holy bishop to entreat;
For God forbid so many simple souls
Should perish by the sword! And I myself,
Rather than bloody war shall cut them short,
Will parley with Jack Cade their general.--
But stay, I'll read it over once again.

Ah, barbarous villains! hath this lovely face
Rul'd, like a wandering planet, over me,
And could it not enforce them to relent
That were unworthy to behold the same?

Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.

Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.

How now, madam!
Still lamenting and mourning for Suffolk's death?
I fear me, love, if that I had been dead,
Thou wouldst not have mourn'd so much for me.

No, my love, I should not mourn, but die for thee.

[Enter a Messenger.]

How now! what news? why com'st thou in such haste?

The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord!
Jack Cade proclaims himself Lord Mortimer,
Descended from the Duke of Clarence' house,
And calls your grace usurper openly,
And vows to crown himself in Westminster.
His army is a ragged multitude
Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless;
Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother's death
Hath given them heart and courage to proceed.
All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
They call false caterpillars, and intend their death.

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