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THE persecution of the Duke of Gloster, the banishment and death of Suffolk, the insurrection of Cade, were events that had long distracted and agitated the people, and prepared the way for the open claim of the house of York to the crown. The return of the Duke of York from Ireland, his demand for the removal of Somerset, and the subsequent dismissal of his forces upon learning that Somerset was a prisoner, are detailed by the chroniclers. The indignation of York upon finding Somerset at liberty is also related by them. The poet leaps over the subsequent committal of York as prisoner to the Tower, and his release under the terror which was produced by the approach of his son Edward towards London with a great army. The duke, previous to his release, solemnly submitted under oath to the king. The poet has preserved the unity of action by destroying the intervals between one event and the other, and bringing causes and consequences into closer union. It is scarcely necessary for us to trace the real course of events, but we transcribe Hall's narrative of the first battle of St. Alban's:

'The king, being credibly informed of the great army coming toward him, assembled an host, intending to meet with the duke in the north part, because he had too many friends about the city of London; and for that cause, with great speed and small luck, he, being accompanied with the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, the Earls of Staf ford, Northumberland, and Wiltshire, with the Lord Clifford and divers other barons, departed out of Westminster, the xx day of May, toward the town, of S. Albans: of whose doings the Duke of York being advertised by his espials, with all his power coasted the country, and came to the same town the third day next ensuing. The king, hearing of their approaching, sent to him messengers, straitly charging and commanding him, as an obedient subject, to keep the peace, and not, as an enemy to his natural country, to murder and slay his own countrymen and proper nation. While King Henry, more desirous of peace than of war, was sending forth his orators at the one end of the town, the Earl of Warwick, with the Marchmen, entered at the other gate of the town, and fiercely

set on the king's foreward, and them shortly discomfited. Then came the Duke of Somerset and all the other lords with the king's power, which fought a sore and cruel battle, in the which many a tall man lost his life: but the Duke of York sent ever fresh men to succour the weary, and put new men in the places of the hurt persons, by which policy the king's army was profligate and dispersed, and all the chieftains of the field almost slain and brought to confusion. For there died, under the sign of the Castle, Edmund Duke of Somerset, who long before was warned to eschew all castles; and beside him lay Henry the second Earl of Northumberland, Humphrey Earl of Stafford, son to the

Duke of Buckingham, John Lord Clifford, and viii M men and more.* Humphrey Duke of Buckingham, being wounded, and James Butler Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, seeing fortune's lowering chance, left the king post alone, and with a great number filed away. This was the end of the first battle at S. Albans, which was fought on the Thursday before the feast of Pentecost, being the xxiii day of May. In this xxxiii year of the king's reign, the bodies of the noble men were buried in the monastery, and the mean people in other places."

* Holinshed suggests this is an error for 800. The Paston Letters say "some six score" were slain.

THE

FIRST PART OF THE CONTENTION

OF THE TWO FAMOUS HOUSES OF

YORK AND LANCASTER,

WITH THE

DEATH OF THE GOOD DUKE HUMPHREY.

ACT I.

(SCENE I.)

Enter at one door, KING HENRY the Sixth, and Пumphrey Duke of GLOSTER, the Duke of SOMERSET, the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL BEAUFORT,

and others.

Enter at the other door, the Duke of YORK, and the Marquess of SUFFOLK, and Queen MARGARET, and the Earls of SALISBURY and WARWICK.

Suf. As by your high imperial majesty's command, I had in charge at my depart for France, As procurator for your excellence,

To marry princess Margaret for your grace;

So in the ancient famous city Tours,

In presence of the kings of France and Sicil,

The dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretaigne, and Alençon,

Seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend bishops,

I did perform my task, and was espous'd:
And now, most humbly on my bended knees,
In sight of England and her royal peers,
Deliver up my title in the queen

Unto your gracious excellence, that are the substance
Of that great shadow I did represent:

The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
The fairest queen that ever king possess'd.
King. Suffolk arise,

Welcome queen Margaret to English Henry's court:
The greatest show of kindness yet we can bestow
Is this kind kiss: O gracious God of heaven,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness,
For in this beauteous face thou hast bestow'd
A world of pleasures to my perplex'd soul.

Queen. Th' excessive love I bear unto your grace
Forbids me to be lavish of my tongue,
Lest I should speak more than beseems a woman :
Let this suffice, my bliss is in your liking;
And nothing can make poor Margaret miserable,
Unless the frown of mighty England's king.
King. Her looks did wound, but now her specch
doth pierce.
HISTORIES.-VOL. II. K

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Item. It is further agreed between them, that the duchies of Anjou and of Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her fa

[Duke HUMPHREY lets it fall. King. How now uncle, what's the matter that you stay so suddenly?

Hum. Pardon my lord, a sudden qualm came o'er my heart,

Which dims mine eyes that I can read no more.
My lord of York, I pray do you read on.

York. Item, It is further agreed between them, that the duchies of Anjou and of Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father, and she sent over of the king of England's own proper cost and charges, without dowry.

King. They please us well, lord marquess kneel down:

We here create thee first duke of Suffolk,
And girt thee with the sword. Cousin of York,
We here discharge your grace from being regent
In the parts of France, till term of eighteen months
Be full expir'd. Thanks uncle Winchester,
Gloster, York, and Buckingham, Somerset,
Salisbury, and Warwick.

We thank you for all this great favour done,
In entertainment to my princely queen.
129

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As if our king were bound unto your will,
And might not do his will without your leave?
Proud protector, envy in thine eyes I see,
The big swoll'n venom of thy hateful heart,
That dares presume 'gainst that thy sovereign

likes.

Пum. Nay, my lord, 'tis not my words that trouble you,

But my presence, proud prelate as thou art:
But I'll be gone, and give thee leave to speak.
Farewell my lords, and say, when I am gone,
I prophesied France would be lost ero long.
[Exit Duke HUMPHREY.
Card. There goes our protector in a rage.
My lords, you know he's my great enemy,
And though he be protector of the land,
And thereby covers his deceitful thoughts.
For you well see, if he but walk the streets,
The common people swarm about him straight,
Crying, Jesus bless your royal excellence,
With God preserve the good duke Humphrey,
And many things besides that are not known,
Which time will bring to light in smooth duke
Humphrey.
But I will after him, and if I can,

I'll lay a plot to heave him from his seat.

[Exit CARDINAL.

Buck. But let us watch this haughty Cardinal. Cousin of Somerset, be ruled by me, We'll watch duke Humphrey and the Cardinal too, And put them from the mark they fain would hit. Som. Thanks, cousin Buckingham, join thou with

me,

And both of us with the duke of Suffolk,
We'll quickly heave duke Humphrey from his

seat.

Buck. Content: come then, let us about it straight, For either thou or I will be protector.

[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and SOMERSET. Sal. Pride went before, ambition follows after. Whilst these do seck their own preferments thus, My lords, let us seek for our country's good: Oft have I seen this haughty Cardinal Swear, and forswear himself, and brave it out, More like a ruffian than a man of the church. Cousin York, the victories thou hast won, In Ireland, Normandy, and in France, Hath won thee immortal praise in England: And thou, bravo Warwick, my thrice valiant son, Thy simple plainness and thy house-keeping Hath won thee credit amongst the common sort: reverence of mine age, Nevil's name,

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Cold news for me, for I had hope of France, Even as I have of fertile England.

A day will come when York shall claim his own,
And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts,

And make a show of love to proud duke Hum. phrey :

And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
For that's the golden mark I seek to hit;
Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right,
Nor hold the sceptre in his childish fist,
Nor wear the diadem upon his head,
Whose church-like humours fit not for a crown.
Then, York, be still awhile till time do serve:
Watch thou, and wake, when others be asleep,
To pry into the secrets of the state;
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,

With his new bride and England's dear-bought

queen,

And Humphroy with the peers be fall'n at jars.
Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,

With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum'd,
And in my standard bear the arms of York,
To grapple with the house of Lancaster:
And, force perforce, I'll make him yield tho

crown,

Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.

(SCENE II.)

Enter Duke HUMPHREY, and Dame ELEANOR COBHAM, his Wife.

Eleanor. Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd

corn,

Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load?
What, see'st thou, duke Humphrey, king Henry's

crown?

Reach at it, and if thine arm be too short,
Mine shall lengthen it. Art thou not a prince?
Uncle to the king? and his protector?

Then what shouldst thou lack that might content thy mind?

Ium. My lovely Nell, far be it from my heart
To think of treasons 'gainst my sovereign lord;
But I was troubled with a dream to-night,
And God I pray it do betide none ill.

Eleanor. What dreamt my lord? Good Humphrey tell it me,

And I'll interpret it: and when that's done,
I'll tell thee then what I did dream to-night.

Ilum. This night, when I was laid in bed, I dreamt,

That this my staff, mine office-badge in court,

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