Act 2 - Scene 4
Enter GLOUCESTER and his Servingmen, in mourning cloaks
Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;
And after summer evermore succeeds
Barren winter, with
his wrathful nipping cold:
So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
Sirs, what's o'clock?
Ten, my lord.
Ten is the hour that was appointed me
To watch the coming of my punish'd duchess:
Uneath may she
endure the flinty streets,
To tread them with her tender-feeling feet.
Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind
The abject people gazing on thy face,
With envious looks, laughing at thy shame,
That erst did
follow thy proud chariot-wheels
When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.
But, soft! I think she
comes; and I'll prepare
My tear-stain'd eyes to see her miseries.
Enter the DUCHESS in a white sheet, and a taper burning in her hand; with STANLEY, the Sheriff, and
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!
the giddy multitude do point,
And nod their heads, and throw their eyes on thee!
Ah, Gloucester, hide
thee from their hateful looks,
And, in thy closet pent up, rue my shame,
And ban thine enemies, both
mine and thine!
Be patient, gentle Nell; forget this grief.
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,
Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back,
followed with a rabble that rejoice
To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
The ruthless flint doth
cut my tender feet,
And when I start, the envious people laugh
And bid me be advised how I tread.
Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?
Trow'st thou that e'er I'll look upon the world,
Or count them
happy that enjoy the sun?
No; dark shall be my light and night my day;
To think upon my pomp shall be
Sometime I'll say, I am Duke Humphrey's wife,
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,
Was made a wonder and
To every idle rascal follower.
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
her that hateth thee and hates us all,
And York and impious Beaufort, that false priest,
Have all limed
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