Seru. So please your Grace, wee'le take her from the Sherife

Gloster. No, stirre not for your liues, let her passe by

Elianor. Come you, my Lord, to see my open shame? Now thou do'st Penance too. Looke how they gaze, See how the giddy multitude doe point, And nodde their heads, and throw their eyes on thee. Ah Gloster, hide thee from their hatefull lookes, And in thy Closet pent vp, rue my shame, And banne thine Enemies, both mine and thine

Glost. Be patient, gentle Nell, forget this griefe

Elianor. Ah Gloster, teach me to forget my selfe: For whilest I thinke I am thy married Wife, And thou a Prince, Protector of this Land; Me thinkes I should not thus be led along, Mayl'd vp in shame, with Papers on my back, And follow'd with a Rabble, that reioyce To see my teares, and heare my deepe-fet groanes. The ruthlesse Flint doth cut my tender feet, And when I start, the enuious people laugh, And bid me be aduised how I treade. Ah Humfrey, can I beare this shamefull yoake? Trowest thou, that ere Ile looke vpon the World, Or count them happy, that enioyes the Sunne? No: Darke shall be my Light, and Night my Day. To thinke vpon my Pompe, shall be my Hell. Sometime Ile say, I am Duke Humfreyes Wife, And he a Prince, and Ruler of the Land: Yet so he rul'd, and such a Prince he was, As he stood by, whilest I, his forlorne Duchesse, Was made a wonder, and a pointing stock To euery idle Rascall follower. But be thou milde, and blush not at my shame, Nor stirre at nothing, till the Axe of Death Hang ouer thee, as sure it shortly will. For Suffolke, he that can doe all in all With her, that hateth thee and hates vs all, And Yorke, and impious Beauford, that false Priest, Haue all lym'd Bushes to betray thy Wings, And flye thou how thou canst, they'le tangle thee. But feare not thou, vntill thy foot be snar'd, Nor neuer seeke preuention of thy foes

Glost. Ah Nell, forbeare: thou aymest all awry. I must offend, before I be attainted: And had I twentie times so many foes, And each of them had twentie times their power, All these could not procure me any scathe, So long as I am loyall, true, and crimelesse. Would'st haue me rescue thee from this reproach? Why yet thy scandall were not wipt away, But I in danger for the breach of Law. Thy greatest helpe is quiet, gentle Nell: I pray thee sort thy heart to patience, These few dayes wonder will be quickly worne. Enter a Herald.

Her. I summon your Grace to his Maiesties Parliament, Holden at Bury, the first of this next Moneth

Glost. And my consent ne're ask'd herein before? This is close dealing. Well, I will be there. My Nell, I take my leaue: and Master Sherife, Let not her Penance exceede the Kings Commission

Sh. And't please your Grace, here my Commission stayes: And Sir Iohn Stanly is appointed now, To take her with him to the Ile of Man

Glost. Must you, Sir Iohn, protect my Lady here? Stanly. So am I giuen in charge, may't please your Grace

Glost. Entreat her not the worse, in that I pray You vse her well: the World may laugh againe, And I may liue to doe you kindnesse, if you doe it her. And so Sir Iohn, farewell

Elianor. What, gone my Lord, and bid me not farewell? Glost. Witnesse my teares, I cannot stay to speake.

Exit Gloster.

Elianor. Art thou gone to? all comfort goe with thee, For none abides with me: my Ioy, is Death; Death, at whose Name I oft haue beene afear'd, Because I wish'd this Worlds eternitie. Stanley, I prethee goe, and take me hence, I care not whither, for I begge no fauor; Onely conuey me where thou art commanded

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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