CAST OF CHARACTERS
King Henry VI.
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, uncle to King Henry VI.
Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, great-uncle to King Henry VI.
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York.
Edward and Richard, his sons. In the future, they will be King Edward IV and King Richard III.
Duke of Somerset.
Marquess of Suffolk, later Duke of Suffolk. His given name and surname are William de la Pole.
Duke of Buckingham.
Young Clifford, his son.
Earl of Salisbury.
Earl of Warwick. He is the Earl of Salisbury’s son. The family name of the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Warwick is Neville.
Sir Humphrey Stafford, and William Stafford, his brother.
Sir John Stanley.
A Sea Captain, Master, and Master’s-Mate, and Walter Whitmore.
Two Gentlemen, prisoners with Suffolk.
John Hume and John Southwell, priests.
Roger Bolingbroke, a conjurer.
Thomas Horner, an armorer.
Peter, his apprentice.
Clerk of Chatham.
Mayor of St. Albans.
Simpcox, an imposter.
Alexander Iden, a Kentish gentleman.
Jack Cade, a rebel leader.
George Bevis, John Holland, Dick the Butcher, Smith the Weaver, Michael, and other followers of Jack Cade.
Margaret, Queen to King Henry VI. Before marrying King Henry VI, she was known as Margaret of Anjou.
Eleanor, Duchess to Gloucester.
Margery Jourdain, a witch.
Wife to Simpcox.
Lords, Ladies, Attendants, Petitioners, Aldermen, a Herald, a Beadle, Sheriff, and Officers, Citizens, Apprentices, Falconers, Guards, Soldiers, Messengers, etc.
In 1 Henry VI, he was known mostly as the Bishop of Winchester.
Strong Supporters of King Henry VI
Young Clifford, Lord Clifford’s Son.
Strong Supporters of the Duke of York
Earl of Salisbury.
Earl of Warwick.
— 1.1 —
At the palace in London, several people were assembled. On one side were King Henry VI, the Duke of Gloucester, the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Warwick, and Cardinal Beaufort. On the other side were Queen Margaret, the Marquess of Suffolk, the Duke of York, the Duke of Somerset, and the Duke of Buckingham.
The Marquess of Suffolk had gone to France to arrange a marriage between Margaret and King Henry VI. Now he had returned to England, bringing Margaret with him.
The Marquess of Suffolk said, “Your high imperial majestygave me the command at my departure for France,as proxy to your excellence,to marry Princess Margaret for your grace.Therefore, in the famous ancient city of Tours,in the presence of the Kings of France and Sicily;the Dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretagne, and Alençon; seven Earls, twelve Barons, and twenty reverend Bishops,I have performed my task and as your proxy I married her.”
He knelt and said, “And now humbly upon my bended knee, in sight of England and her lordly nobles, I deliver up my title in the Queen to your most gracious hands that are the substance of that great shadow I was as your representative; this is the happiest gift that ever Marquess gave, the fairest Queen that ever King received.”
The Marquess of Suffolk had married Margaret only as a proxy. Her marriage was actually to King Henry VI, who said, “Marquis of Suffolk, arise.”
King Henry VI then said, “Welcome, Queen Margaret. I can express no kinder, more natural sign of love than this kind, affectionate kiss. Oh, Lord, Who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness! You have given me in this beauteous face a world of Earthly blessings to my soul, if harmony of love unites our thoughts.”
Queen Margaret said, “Great King of England and my gracious lord, the intimate conversation that my mind has had, by day, by night, waking and in my dreams, in courtly company or while saying prayers and using my prayer beads, with you, my very dearest sovereign, makes me the bolder to greet my King with less polished words and terms, such as my intelligence affords and excess of joy of heart imparts.”
“The sight of Margaret entranced me,” King Henry VI said, “but her grace in speech, her words clothed with wisdom’s majesty, makes me go from mere admiration to joys that cause me to weep. Such is the fullness of my heart’s content.
“Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love.”
The lords knelt and said, “Long live Queen Margaret, England’s happiness!”
Using the royal plural, Queen Margaret replied, “We thank you all.”
The lords stood up.
The Marquess of Suffolk said to the Duke of Gloucester, “My Lord Protector, if it pleases your grace, here are the articles of contracted peace between our sovereign and the French King Charles VII. This peace treaty for the next eighteen months has been agreed to by both parties: the French and the English.”
The Duke of Gloucester was the late King Henry V’s only surviving brother. When King Henry VI had been a minor, the Duke of Gloucester had been made Lord Protector so he could rule England until Henry VI came of age. King Henry VI was now old enough to make at least some decisions.
The peace treaty was written in formal language. “Imprimis” means “in the first place.” It is used to introduce a list. The word “item” is used to introduce each article in that list.
The Duke of Gloucester began to read the peace treaty out loud:
“Imprimis, it is agreed between the French King Charles VII and William de la Pole, the Marquess of Suffolk and ambassador for Henry VI, King of England, that the said Henry shall marry the Lady Margaret, daughter of Reignier, King of Naples, Sicilia, and Jerusalem, and crown her Queen of England before the next thirtieth of May. Item, that the Duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the King her fa —”
Shocked at reading this condition of the peace treaty, theDuke of Gloucesterdropped it.
“Uncle, what is the matter?” King Henry VI asked.
“Pardon me, gracious lord,” the Duke of Gloucester said, “Some sudden illness has struck me at the heart and dimmed my eyes, and so I can read no further.”
“Great-uncle Beaufort of Winchester, please read on,” King Henry VI said.
Cardinal Beaufort read out loud:
“Item: It is further agreed between them, that the Duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the King her father, and she sent over to England at the King of England’s own personal cost and expenses, without any dowry.”
Usually, the woman the King of England married would bring with her a large dowry. The King of England would be enriched through marrying her. In this case, however, King Henry VI would receive no dowry. Instead, he would hand over to Margaret’s father two very valuable regions of land in France. He would also pay for all of Margaret’s expenses as she moved from France to England.
Using the royal plural, King Henry VI said, “The conditions of the peace treaty and marriage contract please us well. Lord Marquess of Suffolk, kneel down.”
He knelt, and King Henry VI said, “We here create you the first Duke of Suffolk, and gird you with the sword.”
The newly created Duke of Suffolk rose.
King Henry VI said, “Duke of York, my kinsman, we here discharge your grace from being Regent in the parts of France under the control of England until the period of eighteen months is fully expired.
“Thanks, great-uncle Cardinal Beaufort, Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset, Salisbury, and Warwick. We thank you all for the great favor done in the favorable reception of my Princely Queen.
“Come, let us go in, and with all speed see that her coronation is performed. She must be officially crowned Queen of England.”
King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, and the Duke of Suffolk exited, but the lords stayed behind. They wanted to discuss the peace treaty and the marriage contract.
The Duke of Gloucester said, “Brave peers of England, pillars of the state, to you I, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, must unload his grief, your grief, the common grief of all the land.
“Did my brother King Henry V expend his youth, his valor, his money, and his people in the wars? Did he so often lodge in open fields, in winter’s cold and summer’s parching heat, to conquer France, his true inheritance?”
King Henry V believed that his ancestry had made him the hereditary King of France and so he fought a war against the French. After winning the war, he married Catherine of Valois, a daughter of the French King Charles VI, with the understanding that he would become King of France after King Charles VI died. Unfortunately, Henry V died young, before King Charles VI died.
The Duke of Gloucester continued, “And did my brother the Duke of Bedford exhaust his wits, to keep by statesmanship what Henry V had gotten? Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham, brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick, received deep scars in France and Normandy? Or have my uncle Beaufort and myself, with all the learned Privy Council of the realm, deliberated so long, sat in the Council House early and late, debating to and fro how France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe, and had his highness Henry VI in his infancy crowned in Paris in contemptuous defiance of his foes?
“And shall these labors and these honors die? Shall Henry V’s conquest, Bedford’s vigilance, your deeds of war, and all our counsel die?
“Oh, peers of England, this agreement is shameful! This marriage is fatal, cancelling your fame, blotting your names from books of history, erasing the written records of your renown, defacing monuments — written documents and memorial structures — of conquered France, undoing all, as if all had never been!”
Cardinal Beaufort said, “Nephew, what is the meaning of this impassioned discourse, this rhetorical speech with such detail? As for France, it is ours, and we will still keep it.”
“Yes, uncle, we will keep it — if we can. But now it is impossible we should keep it. Suffolk, the newly made Duke who rules the roost, has given the Duchies of Anjou and Maine to Margaret’s father, poor King Reignier, whose fancy formal titles do not match the leanness of his purse. He has many high titles, but little money.”
The Earl of Salisbury said, “Now, by the death of Him Who died for all, these counties were the keys of Normandy.
“But why does my valiant son, the Earl of Warwick, weep?”
“I weep out of grief because the Duchies of Anjou and Maine are past recovery,” the Earl of Warwick replied. “If hope existed that we could conquer them again, my sword would shed hot blood, and my eyes would shed no tears.
“Anjou and Maine! I myself won them both. Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer. And are the cities, which I conquered with my wounds, delivered to the French again with peaceful words? Mort Dieu! God’s death!”
The Duke of York said, “As for Suffolk’s Duke, may he be suffocated, he who dims the honor of this warlike isle! France should have torn and rent my very heart before I would have consented to this peace treaty.
“I have always read that England’s Kings have received large sums of gold and large dowries with their wives, but our King Henry VI gives away his own property in order to marry a woman who brings with her no profit.”
The Duke of Gloucester said, “It is a ‘proper’ jest, and never heard before, that Suffolk should demand a tax levy taking a whole fifteenth from the people for the costs and charges of transporting Margaret from France to England! She should have stayed in France and starved in France before —”
Cardinal Beaufort said, “My Lord of Gloucester, now you grow too hot-tempered. It was the pleasure of my lord the King Henry VI to do that which you criticize.”
“My Lord of Winchester — Cardinal Beaufort — I know your mind,” the Duke of Gloucester said. “I know what you are thinking. It is not my speeches that you dislike; it is my presence that troubles you. Rancor will reveal itself. Proud prelate, in your face I see your fury. If I stay here any longer, we shall begin our longtime bickerings and quarreling again.
“My lords, farewell; and say when I am gone that I prophesied France will be lost before long.”
Cardinal Beaufort said, “So, there goes our Lord Protector in a rage. It is known to all of you that he is my enemy. Nay, more, he is an enemy to all of you, and he is no great friend, I fear, to the King.
“Consider, lords, that he is the next of blood and heir apparent to the English crown. If Henry VI dies without having children first, the Duke of Gloucester will become King of England.
“Even if Henry VI had gotten an empire by his marriage, and all the wealthy kingdoms of the west, there’s reason the Duke of Gloucester should be displeased at his marriage. A marriage that results in children will keep the Duke of Gloucester from the throne.
“Look to it, lords! Be careful! Let not his smoothing, ingratiating words bewitch your hearts; be wise and circumspect.
“What though the common people favor him, calling him ‘Humphrey, the good Duke of Gloucester,’ clapping their hands, and crying with a loud voice, ‘May Jesus maintain your royal excellence!’ and ‘May God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!’
“I am afraid, lords, that despite all this flattering, glossy, deceptive appearance, he will be found to be a dangerous Lord Protector.”
The Duke of Buckingham said, “Why should Gloucester, then, protect our sovereign, since Henry VI is old enough to govern himself? Duke of Somerset, if you join with me, all together, along with the Duke of Suffolk, we’ll quickly hoist and remove by force Duke Humphrey of Gloucester from his seat.”
Cardinal Beaufort said, “This weighty business will not allow delay. I’ll go to the Duke of Suffolk immediately.”
Cardinal Beaufort exited.
The Duke of Somerset said, “Duke of Buckingham, although Duke Humphrey of Gloucester’s pride and the greatness of his position is a torment to us, yet let us watch the haughty Cardinal Beaufort. His insolence is more intolerable than all the Princes in the land beside. If the Duke of Gloucester is removed as Lord Protector, Cardinal Beaufort will become Lord Protector.”
The Duke of Buckingham said, “Either you or I, Somerset, will be Lord Protector, despite Duke Humphrey of Gloucester or Cardinal Beaufort.”
The Duke of Buckingham and the Duke of Somerset exited.
The Earl of Salisbury said, “Pride went before, ambition follows him. Cardinal Beaufort exited first, and then the Duke of Buckingham and the Duke of Somerset followed.
“While these labor for their own advancement, it is best for us to labor for the good of the realm.
“I never saw Duke Humphrey of Gloucester bear himself like anything other than a noble gentleman.
“Often I have seen the haughty Cardinal Beaufort, more like a soldier than a man of the church, as arrogant and proud as if he were lord of all, swear like a ruffian and conduct himself unlike the ruler of a commonwealth.
“Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age, your deeds, your honesty, and your hospitality have won the greatest favor of the common people, with the exception of no one but good Duke Humphrey of Gloucester.
“And, brother-in-law York, you who married Cecily Neville, my sister, your deeds in Ireland, in bringing the rebels back to civil discipline, and your recent military exploits done in the heart of France, when you were Regent for our sovereign, have made you feared and honored by the people.
“Let us join together for the public good and do what we can to bridle and suppress the pride of the Duke of Suffolk and Cardinal Beaufort, as well as the ambition of the Duke of Somerset and the Duke of Buckingham. And, as much as we can, let us support Duke Humphrey of Gloucester’s deeds while they promote the profit of the land of England.”
His son, the Earl of Warwick, said, “May God help Warwick, as long as he loves the land and the profit and general good of his country!”
The Duke of York said, “And so says York —”
He added in his thoughts, — for he has the greatest cause.
Already, the Duke of York was thinking of seizing the crown of the King of England.
The Earl of Salisbury said, “Then let’s hasten away, and look to the main chance. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.”
“To the main!” the Earl of Warwick said. “Oh, father, Maine is lost, that Maine which by main — sheer — force I, Warwick, won, and would have kept as long as my breath did last! The main chance, father, you meant; but I meant Maine, which I will win from France, or else be slain.”
The Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Warwick, his son, exited.
Alone, the Duke of York said to himself, “Anjou and Maine have been given to the French. Paris has been lost; the state of Normandy stands on a precarious point now that Anjou and Maine are gone. Suffolk arranged the articles of the peace treaty and marriage contract, the peers agreed, and Henry VI was well pleased to exchange two dukedoms for the beautiful daughter of Reignier, Duke of Anjou.
“I cannot blame them at all. What is it to them? What they are giving away belongs to me, the rightful King of England; this land in France is not their own.
“Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage by selling valuables for pennies, and they may purchase friends and give gifts to courtesans, continually reveling like lords until all they have stolen is gone. Meanwhile the silly real owner of the goods they have stolen weeps over the stolen goods and wrings his hapless hands and shakes his head and trembling stands aloof, while all is shared and all is borne away, ready to starve and daring not to touch what is his own property.
“Just like that silly real owner, I, the Duke of York, must sit and fret and bite my tongue, while my own lands are bargained for and sold.
“I think the realms of England, France, and Ireland bear that connection to my flesh and blood as did the fatal firebrand Althaea burned did to the heart of the Prince of Calydon.”
When Meleager, Prince of Calydon, was born, the Fates prophesied that he would live only as long as a firebrand — a piece of burning firewood — that was lying in the fireplace would not be consumed by fire. His mother, Althaea, took the burning piece of wood out of the fire, put the piece of wood out, and kept it safe until much later, when Meleager killed her two brothers. Then she threw the piece of wood back into the fire, and Meleager died as the wood burned.
The Duke of York continued, “Anjou and Maine have both been given to the French! This is cold news for me, for I had hope of ruling France, even as I have hope of ruling England’s fertile soil.
“A day will come when the Duke of York shall claim his own, and therefore I will get the Nevilles — the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Warwick — on my side and make a show of friendship to proud Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and, when I spy an advantage, I will claim the crown, for that’s the golden mark — target — I seek to hit.
“Nor shall proud Lancaster — King Henry VI, who is also the Duke of Lancaster — usurp my right to the crown and throne, nor hold the scepter in his childish fist, nor wear the diadem upon his head, whose church-like, devout disposition makes him not fit to wear a crown.
“So then, Duke of York, be still awhile, until the right time comes. Watch and be awake while others are asleep, in order to pry into the secrets of the state. Wait until Henry VI, overindulging in the joys of love with his new bride and England’s expensively bought Queen, and Duke Humphrey of Gloucester both fall into quarrels with the peers.
“Then I will raise aloft the milk-white rose, the symbol of the House of York, with whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed, and in my battle flag I will bear the coat of arms of York to grapple with the House of Lancaster, whose symbol is the red rose.
“And, force perforce, with violent compulsion I’ll make Henry VI yield the crown — Henry VI whose bookish rule has pulled fair England down.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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