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Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#1/Background/Act 1, Scene 1.1

The play opens with the Duke of Suffolk, William de la
Pole, reporting in London to the King and his court that as charged the King
“was espoused to Princess Margaret in the famous ancient city Tours, and humbly
now upon my bended knee deliver up my legal claim in the Queen to your Grace,
the fairest queen that ever king received.”
The year is 1445. The King says “Queen Margaret, thou hast given me in
this beauteous face a world of earthly blessings to my soul.”  Queen Margaret replies “The communing that my
mind hath had with you makes me the bolder to salute my king with less courtly
terms, such as my wisdom provides and overjoy of heart doth supply.”  The King says “Her sight does ravish; but her
grace in speech makes me from wond’ring fall to weeping joys.  Lords, with a cheerful voice welcome my
love.”  All in attendance say “Long live
Queen Margaret.”  Suffolk hands “articles
of contracted peace between our sovereign and the French King Charles” to the
Duke of Gloucester, Humphrey, the King’s uncle and England’s Protector.
Gloucester reads the “articles” aloud that in part read “that the Duchy of
Anjou and the County of Maine shall be released and delivered to the King her
father.”  At that point Gloucester drops
the paper, saying “I can read no further.”
The Cardinal (Henry Beaufort, the Bishop of Winchester) picks up the
papers and reads “that she is sent to the King of England without having any
dowry.”  The King says “They please us
well.”  He lauds Suffolk. The King is in
love.  He tells York that “we here discharge
your Grace from being Regent in France.”
The King, Queen and Suffolk exit.

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#2/Background/Act 1, Scene 1.2

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, tells his fellow “brave
peers of England” that he “must unload his grief.”  He says “did not my brother Henry spend his
youth to conquer France?  Have you
yourselves not received deep scars in France and Normandy? Have we not long
debated to and fro how Frenchmen might be kept in awe?  Shall Henry’s conquest and all our counsel
die?  Fatal this marriage, canceling your
fame, undoing all, as all had never been!”
The Cardinal (Bishop of Winchester) says “What means this passionate
discourse?”  Gloucester cries “Suffolk,
the Duke that rules the roust, hath given Anjou and Maine unto the poor King
Reignier.”  Warwick (Richard Neville; the
earl of Salisbury’s son) says “Anjou and Maine myself did win them both; are
the cities that I got with wounds delivered up again with peaceful words?”  York chimes in, saying “France should have
torn my very heart before I would have yielded to this league.”  The Cardinal supports the arranged marriage.
Gloucester says to the Cardinal “’Tis not my speeches that you do mislike, but
‘tis my presence that doth trouble ye.”
He exits. The two really dislike each other.  The Cardinal says “So, there goes our
Protector in a rage. Consider, lords, he is the next of blood and heir apparent
to the English crown.  Had Henry got an
empire by his marriage, he should be displeased at it. I fear me lords, he will
be found a dangerous Protector.”
Buckingham says “Why should he, then, protect our sovereign, he being of
age to govern of himself?”  The Cardinal says
“This weighty business will not brook delay; I’ll to Suffolk presently.”  He exits.
Somerset says “Let us watch the haughty Cardinal; if Gloucester be
displaced, he’ll be Protector.”
Buckingham says “Or thou or I, Somerset, will be Protector, despite
Humphrey or the Cardinal.”  Buckingham
and Somerset exit.  Salisbury says “I
never saw but Humphrey bear himself like a noble gentleman.  Oft have I seen the haughty Cardinal more
like a soldier than a man o’ the church.”
Split allegiances are apparent.

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#3/Background/Act 1, Scene 1.3

Salisbury, as are some other lords, is disappointed with
the dissension that the King’s marriage has created.  He turns to his son, Warwick (also known as
Richard Neville, as is his father) noting that he “hath the greatest favor of
the commons, excepting none but good Duke Humphrey.”  Salisbury then turns to York (Richard
Plantagenet, Duke of York) saying “thy acts in Ireland and in France have made
thee feared and honored of the people.”
It’s worth remembering both Warwick and York, both powerful men.  There are reasons Warwick is referred to
later as “The Kingmaker.”  Salisbury
suggests to both that “we join together to bridle and suppress the pride of
Suffolk and the Cardinal, with Somerset’s and Buckingham’s ambition.”  Warwick agrees.  Aside York says “And so says York, for he
hath greatest cause.”  Warwick and
Salisbury exit.  Alone on the stage, York
says “A day will come when York shall claim his own; and therefore I will take
the Neville’s parts and make a show of love to proud Duke Humphrey.”  York was married to Cecily Neville,
Salisbury’s sister and Warwick’s aunt, the Nevilles being descendants of John
of Gaunt and his second wife; those being in the Beaufort line.  York says to himself “York, be still awhile,
till time do serve. Watch thou and wake when others be asleep. Then will I
raise aloft the milk-white rose to grapple with the house of Lancaster; and
I’ll make him yield the crown, whose bookish rule hath pulled fair England
down.”  The house of Lancaster members
are those descendants of John of Gaunt and his first wife, the Legitimate
line.  York earlier had said Henry VI’s
“church-like humors fit not for a crown.”
He says he will move forward when Henry is “surfeiting in joys of
love.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#4/Ambition/Act 1, Scene 2

Duke Humphrey (Gloucester) and his wife, Eleanor, are on
stage.  She’s known here as the
Duchess.  He appears discouraged.  She lays into him, sarcastically.  She very much wants to be queen.  He says “My troublous dreams this night doth
make me sad.”  She asks “What dreamed my
lord?”  He says he had a bad dream that
included the Cardinal, Somerset and Suffolk.
He says “What it doth bode, God knows.”
She says “Tut, list to me, my Humphrey.
Me thought I sat in the seat of majesty where Henry and Dame Margaret
kneeled to me, and on my head did set the diadem.”  He replies “Nay, Eleanor, art thou not second
woman in the realm, and the Protector’s wife, beloved of him?  Let me hear no more.”  She says “Next time I’ll keep my dreams unto
myself and not be checked.”  A Messenger
enters, saying “My Lord Protector, ‘tis His Highness’ pleasure you do prepare
to ride to St. Albans.”  He says “I go.
Nell, thou wilt ride with us?”  She says
“Yes, I’ll follow presently.”  Gloucester
and the Messenger exit.  She says to
herself “Follow I must.”  Hume
enters.  John Hume is a priest.  He calls her “Your royal Majesty.”  She says “Majesty! I am but Grace.”  He says “By the grace of god and Hume’s
advice, your Grace’s title shall be multiplied.”  Excitedly she says “Hast thou conferred with
Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch, and with Roger Bolingbroke, the
conjurer?”  Hume says “This they have
promised, to show your Highness a spirit raised from depth of underground to
answer your questions.”  She says “It is
enough.  Here, Hume, take this reward;
make merry, man.”  She exits.  He says “Hume must make merry with the
Duchess’ gold.”  He tells us “Yet have I
gold from the rich Cardinal and Suffolk, for, to be plain, they, knowing Dame
Eleanor’s aspiring humor, have hired me to undermine the Duchess.  Hume’s knavery will be the Duchess’ ruin, and
her disgrace will be Humphrey’s fall.
Sort how it will, I shall have gold from all.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#5/Relationship/Act 1, Scene 3.1

The Queen and Suffolk are on stage.  The Queen says “I tell thee, Pole, when in
the city Tours thou ranst a joust in honor of my love, I thought King Henry had
resembled thee in courage, courtliness, and physical attributes.  But all his mind is bent to holiness; his
champions are the prophets and apostles; his weapons holy saws of sacred writ;
his loves are brazen images of canonized saints.  I would the college of the cardinals would
choose him Pope and carry him to Rome.”
Suffolk replies “Madam, be patient; as I was cause your Highness came to
England, so will I in England work your Grace’s full content.”  She names the names of most of the lords, and
says “Not all these lords do vex me half so much as that proud dame the Lord
Protector’s wife (the Duchess).  She
sweeps though the court more like an empress than Duke Humphrey’s wife.”  Suffolk lets her know that he has set a trap
for dame Eleanor.  He tells the Queen
“Although we fancy not the Cardinal, yet must we join with him and with the
lords, till we have brought Duke Humphrey in disgrace.  We’ll weed them one by one.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#6/Conflict/Act 1, Scene 3.2

Suffolk and the Queen are on stage.  The King, his lords and the Dutchess
enter.  The issue: who is to be the
Regent of France.  The King says “For my
part I care not which, Somerset or York, all’s one to me.”  Warwick says “York is the worthier.”  The Cardinal chimes in saying “Ambitious
Warwick, let thy betters speak.”
Salisbury says “Peace, son!”  The
Queen says “Somerset.”  Gloucester says
“Madam, these are no women’s matters.”
The Queen snaps “What needs your Grace to be Protector of His
Excellence?”  Gloucester says “I serve at
the King’s pleasure.”  Suffolk says
“Resign it then.  Who is the King but
thou?”  Somerset weights in, saying “Thy
sumptuous buildings and thy wife’s attire have cost a mass of public
treasury.”  The Queen suggests Gloucester
is financially benefiting from the war with France.  Gloucester exits.  The Queen, reaching for a dropped fan, hits
the Duchess.  The Duchess cries out at
the Queen and exits. Buckingham says “Lord Cardinal, I will follow
Eleanor.  Her anger needs no spurs.  She’ll gallop far enough to her
destruction.”  He exits.  Gloucester re-enters.  He turns to the King and says “I come to talk
of commonwealth affairs.  I say, my sovereign,
York is the most suitable man to be your regent in the realm of France.”  Suffolk jumps in, saying “Give me leave to
show some reason that York is the most unfit of any man.”  York counters.  He carefully defends his record in France.  Warwick calls York a traitor.  Horner the Armorer and his man Peter
enter.  Suffolk knows Horner and says
“This man doth accuse his master of high treason.  His words were these: that Richard Duke of
York was rightful heir unto the English crown, and that your Majesty was a
usurper.”  Horner denies it all.  Peter says “My lords, he did speak them to me
one night.”  Horner says “Alas, my lord,
hang me, if ever I spake the words.  My
accuser is my ‘prentice.  When I
corrected him the other day, he did vow he would be even with me.”  The King turns to Gloucester, saying “Uncle,
what shall we say.”  Gloucester says “Let
Somerset be regent o’er the French, because in York this breeds suspicion.”
Speaking of Horner and Peter, Gloucester says “Let these two have a day appointed
them for a single combat in convenient place.”
The King says “Then be it so, my lord of Somerset.”  Somerset says “I humbly thank your royal
Majesty.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#7/Sorcerers/Act 1, Scene 4

John Hume, Margery Jourdain, and Bolingbroke meet in the
garden of Gloucester’s house.  Hume says
“Come my masters; the Duchess expects performance of your promises.”  Bolingbroke says “It shall be convenient,
Master Hume, that you be aloft, while we be busy below.”  The Duchess enters ‘aloft.’  She says “Welcome all.”  Bolingbroke says “Patience, good lady;
wizards know their times.  Madam, sit you
and fear not.”  It thunders and lightens;
the spirit rises.  The Spirit says “Ask
what thou wilt.”  Bolingbroke asks “What
shall of the King become?”  The Spirit
says “The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose, but him outlive and die a
violent death.”  Bolingbroke asks ‘What
fate await the Duke of Suffolk.”  The
Spirit says “By water shall he die and take his end.”  Bolingbroke asks “What shall befall the Duke
of Somerset?”  The Spirit says “Let him
shun castles.”  Thunder and
lightning.  The Spirit exits.  P.S. The Spirit knows!  The Dukes of York and Buckingham enter.  York cries “Lay hands upon these traitors and
their trash.”  He turns to the Duchess
and sarcastically says “My Lord Protector will see you well rewarded for these
good merits.”  Buckingham says “Away with
them! And kept asunder.  You, madam,
shall with us.”  They exit. York says
“These oracles are hardly understood.
The King is now in progress toward St. Albans, with him the husband of
this lovely lady.  A sorry breakfast for
my Lord Protector.”  Buckingham exits.  A servingman enters.  York says to him “Invite my lords of
Salisbury and Warwick to sup with me tomorrow night.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#8/Conjurers/Act 2, Scene 1

The scene opens at St. Albans with the King, Queen,
Gloucester, the Cardinal and Suffolk on stage.
A quarrel erupts.  Gloucester says
“Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.”
The Queen responds “And thy ambition, Gloucester.”  The King says “I prithee, peace.”  Aside, the Cardinal and Gloucester agree to a
duel “this evening, on the east side of the grove.”  Buckingham enters.  The King asks “What tidings with our cousin
Buckingham?”  Buckingham replies “A crew
of wicked persons, sponsored by Lady Eleanor, the Protector’s wife, have
practiced dangerously against your state, dealing with witches and with
conjurers.”  Aside, the Cardinal says to
Gloucester “This news, I think, hath turned your weapon’s edge. ‘Tis likely, my
lord, you will not keep your appointment.”
Gloucester replies “Ambitious churchman, sorrow and grief have
vanquished all my powers; and vanquished as I am, I yield to thee.”  The King cries ‘O God, what mischiefs work
the wicked ones.”  The Queen says
“Gloucester, see here the disgrace of thy nest.”  Ever ready to accept blame, Gloucester says
“For my wife, noble she is, but if she have forgot honor and virtue and
conversed with such as defile nobility, I give her as a prey to law and
shame.”  The King says “Well, tomorrow
toward London back again, to look into this business thoroughly.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#9/History/Act 2, Scene 2

York says to Salisbury and Warwick “Our simple supper
ended, give me leave to satisfy myself in craving your opinion of my title to
England’s crown.”  Warwick replies “The
Nevilles are thy subjects to command.”
The Nevilles, Salisbury and Warwick (his son), are descendants of the
daughter of John of Gaunt and his second wife.
They are of the house of Neville. York provides them with a brief, but
carefully detailed, history of Edward III and his seven sons.  Warwick says to his father “Father, the Duke
hath told the truth; thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.”  York quickly says “Which now they hold by
force and not by right.”  York goes on to
explain that he claims the crown through Edward III’s third son.  John of Gaunt was Edward III’s fourth son and
was the Duke of Lancaster.  York claims
the title, he says, by being the great-great grandson of Lionel, Edward III’s
third son. York presents his case clearly.
Warwick says “What plain proceedings is more plan that this?”  Salisbury and Warwick says “Long live our
sovereign Richard, England’s king!”  York
says “We thank you, lords.”  He then goes
in detail to cover matters that are familiar to the Nevilles.  Salisbury says “My lord, break we off; we
know your mind at full.”  Warwick says
“My heart assures me that I shall one day make the Duke of York a king.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 2/#10/Banishment/Act 2, Scene 3

The scene opens in the Hall of Justice. The King
sentences Margery Jourdain, the sorceress, and Hume, Bolingbroke and a third
priest to death.  He says “Dame Eleanor,
Gloucester’s wife, you, nobly born, shall live here in this country in
banishment in the Isle of Man.”  The Duchess
exits, guarded.  Gloucester says “I
beseech your Majesty, give me leave to go.”
The King says “Humphrey, before you go, give up thy staff; Henry will to
himself Protector be.”  Gloucester says
“My staff?  Here noble Henry is my
staff.  As willingly do I the same resign
as e’er thy father Henry made it mine. Farewell, good King.”  He exits.
Suffolk says “Thus droops this great man and hangs his sprays; thus
Eleanor’s pride dies in her youngest days.”
York says “let him go.  Please
your Majesty, this is the day appointed for the combat; the armorer and his
man.”  Horner and Peter, his man, enter,
both frightened and having had too much to drink.  They fight.
Peter knocks him down.  Horner
cries “Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.”  He dies.
The King says “For his death we do perceive his guilt.”  The King says to Peter “Come, fellow, follow
us for thy reward.”