Henry VI, Part 3
- KING HENRY VI
KING HENRY the Sixth.
EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES his son. (PRINCE EDWARD:)
KING LEWIS XI King of France. (KING LEWIS XI:)
DUKE OF SOMERSET (SOMERSET:)
DUKE OF EXETER (EXETER:)
EARL OF OXFORD (OXFORD:)
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND (NORTHUMBERLAND:)
EARL OF WESTMORELAND (WESTMORELAND:)
LORD CLIFFORD (CLIFFORD:)
RICHARD PLANTAGENET Duke of York. (YORK:)
EDWARD (EDWARD:) Earl of March, | afterwards King Edward IV. | (KING EDWARD IV:) | | EDMUND Earl of Rutland, (RUTLAND:) | | his sons. GEORGE (GEORGE:) afterwards Duke of | Clarence (CLARENCE:) | | RICHARD (RICHARD:) afterwards Duke of | Gloucester, (GLOUCESTER:) |
DUKE OF NORFOLK (NORFOLK:)
MARQUESS OF MONTAGUE (MONTAGUE:)
EARL OF WARWICK (WARWICK:)
EARL OF PEMBROKE (PEMBROKE:)
LORD HASTINGS (HASTINGS:)
LORD STAFFORD (STAFFORD:)
SIR JOHN MORTIMER (JOHN MORTIMER:) | | uncles to the Duke of York. SIR HUGH MORTIMER (HUGH MORTIMER:) |
HENRY Earl of Richmond, a youth (HENRY OF RICHMOND:).
LORD RIVERS brother to Lady Grey. (RIVERS:)
SIR WILLIAM STANLEY (STANLEY:)
Tutor to Rutland. (Tutor:)
Mayor of York. (Mayor:)
Lieutenant of the Tower. (Lieutenant:)
A Nobleman. (Nobleman:)
Two Keepers. (First Keeper:) (Second Keeper:)
A Huntsman. (Huntsman:)
A Son that has killed his father. (Son:)
A Father that has killed his son. (Father:)
SIR JOHN MONTGOMERY (MONTGOMERY:)
SIR JOHN SOMERVILLE (SOMERVILLE:)
Soldiers, Attendants, Messengers, Watchmen, &c. (Soldier:) (Post:) (Messenger:) (First Messenger:) (Second Messenger:) (First Watchman:) (Second Watchman:) (Third Watchman:)
LADY GREY afterwards Queen to Edward IV. (QUEEN ELIZABETH:)
BONA sister to the French Queen.
SCENE England and France.
[Alarum. Enter YORK, EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers]
SCENE I London. The Parliament-house.
WARWICK I wonder how the king escaped our hands.
YORK While we pursued the horsemen of the north, He slily stole away and left his men: Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland, Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat, Cheer'd up the drooping army; and himself, Lord Clifford and Lord Stafford, all abreast, Charged our main battle's front, and breaking in Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.
EDWARD Lord Stafford's father, Duke of Buckingham, Is either slain or wounded dangerously; I cleft his beaver with a downright blow: That this is true, father, behold his blood.
[Throwing down SOMERSET's head]
MONTAGUE And, brother, here's the Earl of Wiltshire's blood, Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd.
RICHARD Speak thou for me and tell them what I did.
YORK Richard hath best deserved of all my sons. But is your grace dead, my Lord of Somerset?
NORFOLK Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!
RICHARD Thus do I hope to shake King Henry's head.
WARWICK And so do I. Victorious Prince of York, Before I see thee seated in that throne Which now the house of Lancaster usurps, I vow by heaven these eyes shall never close. This is the palace of the fearful king, And this the regal seat: possess it, York; For this is thine and not King Henry's heirs'
YORK Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will; For hither we have broken in by force.
[They go up]
NORFOLK We'll all assist you; he that flies shall die.
YORK Thanks, gentle Norfolk: stay by me, my lords; And, soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night.
WARWICK And when the king comes, offer no violence, Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.
YORK The queen this day here holds her parliament, But little thinks we shall be of her council: By words or blows here let us win our right.
RICHARD Arm'd as we are, let's stay within this house.
WARWICK The bloody parliament shall this be call'd, Unless Plantagenet, Duke of York, be king, And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice Hath made us by-words to our enemies.
[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND, WESTMORELAND, EXETER, and the rest]
YORK Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute; I mean to take possession of my right.
WARWICK Neither the king, nor he that loves him best, The proudest he that holds up Lancaster, Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells. I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares: Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.
KING HENRY VI My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits, Even in the chair of state: belike he means, Back'd by the power of Warwick, that false peer, To aspire unto the crown and reign as king. Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father. And thine, Lord Clifford; and you both have vow'd revenge On him, his sons, his favourites and his friends.
NORTHUMBERLAND If I be not, heavens be revenged on me!
CLIFFORD The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in steel.
WESTMORELAND What, shall we suffer this? let's pluck him down: My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.
KING HENRY VI Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmoreland.
CLIFFORD Patience is for poltroons, such as he: He durst not sit there, had your father lived. My gracious lord, here in the parliament Let us assail the family of York.
NORTHUMBERLAND Well hast thou spoken, cousin: be it so.
KING HENRY VI Ah, know you not the city favours them, And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?
EXETER But when the duke is slain, they'll quickly fly.
KING HENRY VI Far be the thought of this from Henry's heart, To make a shambles of the parliament-house! Cousin of Exeter, frowns, words and threats Shall be the war that Henry means to use. Thou factious Duke of York, descend my throne, and kneel for grace and mercy at my feet; I am thy sovereign.
YORK I am thine.
EXETER For shame, come down: he made thee Duke of York.
YORK 'Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was.
EXETER Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
WARWICK Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown In following this usurping Henry.
CLIFFORD Whom should he follow but his natural king?
WARWICK True, Clifford; and that's Richard Duke of York.
KING HENRY VI And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne?
YORK It must and shall be so: content thyself.
WARWICK Be Duke of Lancaster; let him be king.
WESTMORELAND He is both king and Duke of Lancaster; And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall maintain.
WARWICK And Warwick shall disprove it. You forget That we are those which chased you from the field And slew your fathers, and with colours spread March'd through the city to the palace gates.
NORTHUMBERLAND Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief; And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
WESTMORELAND Plantagenet, of thee and these thy sons, Thy kinsman and thy friends, I'll have more lives Than drops of blood were in my father's veins.
CLIFFORD Urge it no more; lest that, instead of words, I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger As shall revenge his death before I stir.
WARWICK Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worthless threats!
YORK Will you we show our title to the crown? If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.
KING HENRY VI What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown? Thy father was, as thou art, Duke of York; Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March: I am the son of Henry the Fifth, Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop And seized upon their towns and provinces.
WARWICK Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.
KING HENRY VI The lord protector lost it, and not I: When I was crown'd I was but nine months old.
RICHARD You are old enough now, and yet, methinks, you lose. Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.
EDWARD Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.
MONTAGUE Good brother, as thou lovest and honourest arms, Let's fight it out and not stand cavilling thus.
RICHARD Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will fly.
YORK Sons, peace!
KING HENRY VI Peace, thou! and give King Henry leave to speak.
WARWICK Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him, lords; And be you silent and attentive too, For he that interrupts him shall not live.
KING HENRY VI Think'st thou that I will leave my kingly throne, Wherein my grandsire and my father sat? No: first shall war unpeople this my realm; Ay, and their colours, often borne in France, And now in England to our heart's great sorrow, Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords? My title's good, and better far than his.
WARWICK Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.
KING HENRY VI Henry the Fourth by conquest got the crown.
YORK 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
KING HENRY VI [Aside] I know not what to say; my title's weak.-- Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?
YORK What then?
KING HENRY VI An if he may, then am I lawful king; For Richard, in the view of many lords, Resign'd the crown to Henry the Fourth, Whose heir my father was, and I am his.
YORK He rose against him, being his sovereign, And made him to resign his crown perforce.
WARWICK Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain'd, Think you 'twere prejudicial to his crown?
EXETER No; for he could not so resign his crown But that the next heir should succeed and reign.
KING HENRY VI Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter?
EXETER His is the right, and therefore pardon me.
YORK Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?
EXETER My conscience tells me he is lawful king.
KING HENRY VI [Aside] All will revolt from me, and turn to him.
NORTHUMBERLAND Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay'st, Think not that Henry shall be so deposed.
WARWICK Deposed he shall be, in despite of all.
NORTHUMBERLAND Thou art deceived: 'tis not thy southern power, Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent, Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud, Can set the duke up in despite of me.
CLIFFORD King Henry, be thy title right or wrong, Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence: May that ground gape and swallow me alive, Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father!
KING HENRY VI O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart!
[He stamps with his foot and the soldiers show themselves]
YORK Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown. What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?
WARWICK Do right unto this princely Duke of York, Or I will fill the house with armed men, And over the chair of state, where now he sits, Write up his title with usurping blood.
KING HENRY VI My Lord of Warwick, hear me but one word: Let me for this my life-time reign as king.
YORK Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs, And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou livest.
KING HENRY VI I am content: Richard Plantagenet, Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.
CLIFFORD What wrong is this unto the prince your son!
WARWICK What good is this to England and himself!
WESTMORELAND Base, fearful and despairing Henry!
CLIFFORD How hast thou injured both thyself and us!
WESTMORELAND I cannot stay to hear these articles.
NORTHUMBERLAND Nor I.
CLIFFORD Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these news.
WESTMORELAND Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king, In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
[Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, CLIFFORD, and WESTMORELAND]
NORTHUMBERLAND Be thou a prey unto the house of York, And die in bands for this unmanly deed!
CLIFFORD In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome, Or live in peace abandon'd and despised!
WARWICK Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not.
EXETER They seek revenge and therefore will not yield.
KING HENRY VI Ah, Exeter!
WARWICK Why should you sigh, my lord?
KING HENRY VI Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son, Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit. But be it as it may: I here entail The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever; Conditionally, that here thou take an oath To cease this civil war, and, whilst I live, To honour me as thy king and sovereign, And neither by treason nor hostility To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
YORK This oath I willingly take and will perform.
WARWICK Long live King Henry! Plantagenet embrace him.
KING HENRY VI And long live thou and these thy forward sons!
[Sennet. Here they come down]
YORK Now York and Lancaster are reconciled.
EXETER Accursed be he that seeks to make them foes!
YORK Farewell, my gracious lord; I'll to my castle.
WARWICK And I'll keep London with my soldiers.
[Exeunt YORK, EDWARD, EDMUND, GEORGE, RICHARD, WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, their Soldiers, and Attendants]
NORFOLK And I to Norfolk with my followers.
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET and PRINCE EDWARD]
MONTAGUE And I unto the sea from whence I came.
KING HENRY VI And I, with grief and sorrow, to the court.
EXETER Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray her anger: I'll steal away.
KING HENRY VI Exeter, so will I.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, go not from me; I will follow thee.
KING HENRY VI Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay.
QUEEN MARGARET Who can be patient in such extremes? Ah, wretched man! would I had died a maid And never seen thee, never borne thee son, Seeing thou hast proved so unnatural a father Hath he deserved to lose his birthright thus? Hadst thou but loved him half so well as I, Or felt that pain which I did for him once, Or nourish'd him as I did with my blood, Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there, Rather than have that savage duke thine heir And disinherited thine only son.
PRINCE EDWARD Father, you cannot disinherit me: If you be king, why should not I succeed?
KING HENRY VI Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me, sweet son: The Earl of Warwick and the duke enforced me.
QUEEN MARGARET Enforced thee! art thou king, and wilt be forced? I shame to hear thee speak. Ah, timorous wretch! Thou hast undone thyself, thy son and me; And given unto the house of York such head As thou shalt reign but by their sufferance. To entail him and his heirs unto the crown, What is it, but to make thy sepulchre And creep into it far before thy time? Warwick is chancellor and the lord of Calais; Stern Falconbridge commands the narrow seas; The duke is made protector of the realm; And yet shalt thou be safe? such safety finds The trembling lamb environed with wolves. Had I been there, which am a silly woman, The soldiers should have toss'd me on their pikes Before I would have granted to that act. But thou preferr'st thy life before thine honour: And seeing thou dost, I here divorce myself Both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed, Until that act of parliament be repeal'd Whereby my son is disinherited. The northern lords that have forsworn thy colours Will follow mine, if once they see them spread; And spread they shall be, to thy foul disgrace And utter ruin of the house of York. Thus do I leave thee. Come, son, let's away; Our army is ready; come, we'll after them.
KING HENRY VI Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me speak.
QUEEN MARGARET Thou hast spoke too much already: get thee gone.
KING HENRY VI Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay with me?
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, to be murder'd by his enemies.
[Exeunt QUEEN MARGARET and PRINCE EDWARD]
PRINCE EDWARD When I return with victory from the field I'll see your grace: till then I'll follow her.
QUEEN MARGARET Come, son, away; we may not linger thus.
- KING HENRY VI
KING HENRY VI Poor queen! how love to me and to her son Hath made her break out into terms of rage! Revenged may she be on that hateful duke, Whose haughty spirit, winged with desire, Will cost my crown, and like an empty eagle Tire on the flesh of me and of my son! The loss of those three lords torments my heart: I'll write unto them and entreat them fair. Come, cousin you shall be the messenger.
EXETER And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.
[Enter RICHARD, EDWARD, and MONTAGUE]
SCENE II Sandal Castle.
RICHARD Brother, though I be youngest, give me leave.
EDWARD No, I can better play the orator.
MONTAGUE But I have reasons strong and forcible.
YORK Why, how now, sons and brother! at a strife? What is your quarrel? how began it first?
EDWARD No quarrel, but a slight contention.
YORK About what?
RICHARD About that which concerns your grace and us; The crown of England, father, which is yours.
YORK Mine boy? not till King Henry be dead.
RICHARD Your right depends not on his life or death.
EDWARD Now you are heir, therefore enjoy it now: By giving the house of Lancaster leave to breathe, It will outrun you, father, in the end.
YORK I took an oath that he should quietly reign.
EDWARD But for a kingdom any oath may be broken: I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.
RICHARD No; God forbid your grace should be forsworn.
YORK I shall be, if I claim by open war.
RICHARD I'll prove the contrary, if you'll hear me speak.
YORK Thou canst not, son; it is impossible.
[Enter a Messenger]
But, stay: what news? Why comest thou in such post?
RICHARD An oath is of no moment, being not took Before a true and lawful magistrate, That hath authority over him that swears: Henry had none, but did usurp the place; Then, seeing 'twas he that made you to depose, Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous. Therefore, to arms! And, father, do but think How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown; Within whose circuit is Elysium And all that poets feign of bliss and joy. Why do we finger thus? I cannot rest Until the white rose that I wear be dyed Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry's heart.
YORK Richard, enough; I will be king, or die. Brother, thou shalt to London presently, And whet on Warwick to this enterprise. Thou, Richard, shalt to the Duke of Norfolk, And tell him privily of our intent. You Edward, shall unto my Lord Cobham, With whom the Kentishmen will willingly rise: In them I trust; for they are soldiers, Witty, courteous, liberal, full of spirit. While you are thus employ'd, what resteth more, But that I seek occasion how to rise, And yet the king not privy to my drift, Nor any of the house of Lancaster?
Messenger The queen with all the northern earls and lords Intend here to besiege you in your castle: She is hard by with twenty thousand men; And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.
[Enter JOHN MORTIMER and HUGH MORTIMER]
Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles, You are come to Sandal in a happy hour; The army of the queen mean to besiege us.
YORK Ay, with my sword. What! think'st thou that we fear them? Edward and Richard, you shall stay with me; My brother Montague shall post to London: Let noble Warwick, Cobham, and the rest, Whom we have left protectors of the king, With powerful policy strengthen themselves, And trust not simple Henry nor his oaths.
MONTAGUE Brother, I go; I'll win them, fear it not: And thus most humbly I do take my leave.
JOHN MORTIMER She shall not need; we'll meet her in the field.
[A march afar off]
YORK What, with five thousand men?
RICHARD Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need: A woman's general; what should we fear?
- KING HENRY VI
EDWARD I hear their drums: let's set our men in order, And issue forth and bid them battle straight.
YORK Five men to twenty! though the odds be great, I doubt not, uncle, of our victory. Many a battle have I won in France, When as the enemy hath been ten to one: Why should I not now have the like success?
[Alarums. Enter RUTLAND and his Tutor]
[Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers]
SCENE III Field of battle betwixt Sandal Castle and Wakefield.
RUTLAND Ah, whither shall I fly to 'scape their hands? Ah, tutor, look where bloody Clifford comes!
CLIFFORD Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life. As for the brat of this accursed duke, Whose father slew my father, he shall die.
Tutor And I, my lord, will bear him company.
[Exit, dragged off by Soldiers]
CLIFFORD Soldiers, away with him!
Tutor Ah, Clifford, murder not this innocent child, Lest thou be hated both of God and man!
CLIFFORD How now! is he dead already? or is it fear That makes him close his eyes? I'll open them.
RUTLAND So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch That trembles under his devouring paws; And so he walks, insulting o'er his prey, And so he comes, to rend his limbs asunder. Ah, gentle Clifford, kill me with thy sword, And not with such a cruel threatening look. Sweet Clifford, hear me speak before I die. I am too mean a subject for thy wrath: Be thou revenged on men, and let me live.
CLIFFORD In vain thou speak'st, poor boy; my father's blood Hath stopp'd the passage where thy words should enter.
[Lifting his hand]
RUTLAND Then let my father's blood open it again: He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.
CLIFFORD Had thy brethren here, their lives and thine Were not revenge sufficient for me; No, if I digg'd up thy forefathers' graves And hung their rotten coffins up in chains, It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart. The sight of any of the house of York Is as a fury to torment my soul; And till I root out their accursed line And leave not one alive, I live in hell. Therefore--
RUTLAND O, let me pray before I take my death! To thee I pray; sweet Clifford, pity me!
CLIFFORD Such pity as my rapier's point affords.
RUTLAND I never did thee harm: why wilt thou slay me?
CLIFFORD Thy father hath.
RUTLAND But 'twas ere I was born. Thou hast one son; for his sake pity me, Lest in revenge thereof, sith God is just, He be as miserably slain as I. Ah, let me live in prison all my days; And when I give occasion of offence, Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause.
CLIFFORD No cause! Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.
- KING HENRY VI
RUTLAND Di faciant laudis summa sit ista tuae!
CLIFFORD Plantagenet! I come, Plantagenet! And this thy son's blood cleaving to my blade Shall rust upon my weapon, till thy blood, Congeal'd with this, do make me wipe off both.
[Alarum. Enter YORK]
[A short alarum within]
Ah, hark! the fatal followers do pursue; And I am faint and cannot fly their fury: And were I strong, I would not shun their fury: The sands are number'd that make up my life; Here must I stay, and here my life must end.
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND, PRINCE EDWARD, and Soldiers]
Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland, I dare your quenchless fury to more rage: I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
SCENE IV Another part of the field.
YORK The army of the queen hath got the field:
My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
And all my followers to the eager foe
Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind
Or lambs pursued by hunger-starved wolves.
My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them:
But this I know, they have demean'd themselves
Like men born to renown by life or death.
Three times did Richard make a lane to me.
And thrice cried
Courage, father! fight it out!
And full as oft came Edward to my side,
With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
In blood of those that had encounter'd him:
And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
Charge! and give no foot of ground!
A crown, or else a glorious tomb!
A sceptre, or an earthly sepulchre!
With this, we charged again: but, out, alas!
We bodged again; as I have seen a swan
With bootless labour swim against the tide
And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
NORTHUMBERLAND Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
CLIFFORD Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm, With downright payment, show'd unto my father. Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car, And made an evening at the noontide prick.
YORK My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth A bird that will revenge upon you all: And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven, Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with. Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?
CLIFFORD So cowards fight when they can fly no further; So doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons; So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives, Breathe out invectives 'gainst the officers.
YORK O Clifford, but bethink thee once again, And in thy thought o'er-run my former time; And, if though canst for blushing, view this face, And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with cowardice Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this!
CLIFFORD I will not bandy with thee word for word, But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one.
[They lay hands on YORK, who struggles]
QUEEN MARGARET Hold, valiant Clifford! for a thousand causes I would prolong awhile the traitor's life. Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northumberland.
NORTHUMBERLAND Hold, Clifford! do not honour him so much To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart: What valour were it, when a cur doth grin, For one to thrust his hand between his teeth, When he might spurn him with his foot away? It is war's prize to take all vantages; And ten to one is no impeach of valour.
CLIFFORD Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.
NORTHUMBERLAND So doth the cony struggle in the net.
YORK So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty; So true men yield, with robbers so o'ermatch'd.
[Putting a paper crown on his head]
Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king! Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair, And this is he was his adopted heir. But how is it that great Plantagenet Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath? As I bethink me, you should not be king Till our King Henry had shook hands with death. And will you pale your head in Henry's glory, And rob his temples of the diadem, Now in his life, against your holy oath? O, 'tis a fault too too unpardonable! Off with the crown, and with the crown his head; And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.
NORTHUMBERLAND What would your grace have done unto him now?
QUEEN MARGARET Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland, Come, make him stand upon this molehill here, That raught at mountains with outstretched arms, Yet parted but the shadow with his hand. What! was it you that would be England's king? Was't you that revell'd in our parliament, And made a preachment of your high descent? Where are your mess of sons to back you now? The wanton Edward, and the lusty George? And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy, Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies? Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland? Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point, Made issue from the bosom of the boy; And if thine eyes can water for his death, I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal. Alas poor York! but that I hate thee deadly, I should lament thy miserable state. I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York. What, hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death? Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad; And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus. Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance. Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport: York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown. A crown for York! and, lords, bow low to him: Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.
CLIFFORD That is my office, for my father's sake.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, stay; lets hear the orisons he makes.
YORK She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France, Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth! How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex To triumph, like an Amazonian trull, Upon their woes whom fortune captivates! But that thy face is, vizard-like, unchanging, Made impudent with use of evil deeds, I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush. To tell thee whence thou camest, of whom derived, Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless. Thy father bears the type of King of Naples, Of both the Sicils and Jerusalem, Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman. Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult? It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen, Unless the adage must be verified, That beggars mounted run their horse to death. 'Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud; But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small: 'Tis virtue that doth make them most admired; The contrary doth make thee wonder'd at: 'Tis government that makes them seem divine; The want thereof makes thee abominable: Thou art as opposite to every good As the Antipodes are unto us, Or as the south to the septentrion. O tiger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide! How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child, To bid the father wipe his eyes withal, And yet be seen to bear a woman's face? Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible; Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless. Bids't thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish: Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will: For raging wind blows up incessant showers, And when the rage allays, the rain begins. These tears are my sweet Rutland's obsequies: And every drop cries vengeance for his death, 'Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false Frenchwoman.
NORTHUMBERLAND Beshrew me, but his passion moves me so That hardly can I cheque my eyes from tears.
YORK That face of his the hungry cannibals
Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood:
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
O, ten times more, than tigers of Hyrcania.
See, ruthless queen, a hapless father's tears:
This cloth thou dip'dst in blood of my sweet boy,
And I with tears do wash the blood away.
Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:
And if thou tell'st the heavy story right,
Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;
Yea even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
Alas, it was a piteous deed!
There, take the crown, and, with the crown, my curse;
And in thy need such comfort come to thee
As now I reap at thy too cruel hand!
Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world:
My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads!
NORTHUMBERLAND Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin, I should not for my life but weep with him. To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.
QUEEN MARGARET What, weeping-ripe, my Lord Northumberland? Think but upon the wrong he did us all, And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.
CLIFFORD Here's for my oath, here's for my father's death.
QUEEN MARGARET And here's to right our gentle-hearted king.
- KING HENRY VI
YORK Open Thy gate of mercy, gracious God! My soul flies through these wounds to seek out Thee.
QUEEN MARGARET Off with his head, and set it on York gates; So York may overlook the town of York.
[A march. Enter EDWARD, RICHARD, and their power]
SCENE I A plain near Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire.
EDWARD I wonder how our princely father 'scaped, Or whether he be 'scaped away or no From Clifford's and Northumberland's pursuit: Had he been ta'en, we should have heard the news; Had he been slain, we should have heard the news; Or had he 'scaped, methinks we should have heard The happy tidings of his good escape. How fares my brother? why is he so sad?
RICHARD I cannot joy, until I be resolved Where our right valiant father is become. I saw him in the battle range about; And watch'd him how he singled Clifford forth. Methought he bore him in the thickest troop As doth a lion in a herd of neat; Or as a bear, encompass'd round with dogs, Who having pinch'd a few and made them cry, The rest stand all aloof, and bark at him. So fared our father with his enemies; So fled his enemies my warlike father: Methinks, 'tis prize enough to be his son. See how the morning opes her golden gates, And takes her farewell of the glorious sun! How well resembles it the prime of youth, Trimm'd like a younker prancing to his love!
EDWARD Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
RICHARD Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun; Not separated with the racking clouds, But sever'd in a pale clear-shining sky. See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss, As if they vow'd some league inviolable: Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun. In this the heaven figures some event.
[Enter a Messenger]
But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue?
EDWARD 'Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of. I think it cites us, brother, to the field, That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet, Each one already blazing by our meeds, Should notwithstanding join our lights together And over-shine the earth as this the world. Whate'er it bodes, henceforward will I bear Upon my target three fair-shining suns.
RICHARD Nay, bear three daughters: by your leave I speak it, You love the breeder better than the male.
Messenger Ah, one that was a woful looker-on When as the noble Duke of York was slain, Your princely father and my loving lord!
EDWARD O, speak no more, for I have heard too much.
RICHARD Say how he died, for I will hear it all.
Messenger Environed he was with many foes, And stood against them, as the hope of Troy Against the Greeks that would have enter'd Troy. But Hercules himself must yield to odds; And many strokes, though with a little axe, Hew down and fell the hardest-timber'd oak. By many hands your father was subdued; But only slaughter'd by the ireful arm Of unrelenting Clifford and the queen, Who crown'd the gracious duke in high despite, Laugh'd in his face; and when with grief he wept, The ruthless queen gave him to dry his cheeks A napkin steeped in the harmless blood Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain: And after many scorns, many foul taunts, They took his head, and on the gates of York They set the same; and there it doth remain, The saddest spectacle that e'er I view'd.
EDWARD Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon, Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay. O Clifford, boisterous Clifford! thou hast slain The flower of Europe for his chivalry; And treacherously hast thou vanquish'd him, For hand to hand he would have vanquish'd thee. Now my soul's palace is become a prison: Ah, would she break from hence, that this my body Might in the ground be closed up in rest! For never henceforth shall I joy again, Never, O never shall I see more joy!
RICHARD I cannot weep; for all my body's moisture Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart: Nor can my tongue unload my heart's great burthen; For selfsame wind that I should speak withal Is kindling coals that fires all my breast, And burns me up with flames that tears would quench. To weep is to make less the depth of grief: Tears then for babes; blows and revenge for me Richard, I bear thy name; I'll venge thy death, Or die renowned by attempting it.
[March. Enter WARWICK, MONTAGUE, and their army]
EDWARD His name that valiant duke hath left with thee; His dukedom and his chair with me is left.
RICHARD Nay, if thou be that princely eagle's bird, Show thy descent by gazing 'gainst the sun: For chair and dukedom, throne and kingdom say; Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.
WARWICK How now, fair lords! What fare? what news abroad?
RICHARD Great Lord of Warwick, if we should recount Our baleful news, and at each word's deliverance Stab poniards in our flesh till all were told, The words would add more anguish than the wounds. O valiant lord, the Duke of York is slain!
EDWARD O Warwick, Warwick! that Plantagenet, Which held three dearly as his soul's redemption, Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.
WARWICK Ten days ago I drown'd these news in tears; And now, to add more measure to your woes, I come to tell you things sith then befall'n. After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought, Where your brave father breathed his latest gasp, Tidings, as swiftly as the posts could run, Were brought me of your loss and his depart. I, then in London keeper of the king, Muster'd my soldiers, gather'd flocks of friends, And very well appointed, as I thought, March'd toward Saint Alban's to intercept the queen, Bearing the king in my behalf along; For by my scouts I was advertised That she was coming with a full intent To dash our late decree in parliament Touching King Henry's oath and your succession. Short tale to make, we at Saint Alban's met Our battles join'd, and both sides fiercely fought: But whether 'twas the coldness of the king, Who look'd full gently on his warlike queen, That robb'd my soldiers of their heated spleen; Or whether 'twas report of her success; Or more than common fear of Clifford's rigour, Who thunders to his captives blood and death, I cannot judge: but to conclude with truth, Their weapons like to lightning came and went; Our soldiers', like the night-owl's lazy flight, Or like an idle thresher with a flail, Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends. I cheer'd them up with justice of our cause, With promise of high pay and great rewards: But all in vain; they had no heart to fight, And we in them no hope to win the day; So that we fled; the king unto the queen; Lord George your brother, Norfolk and myself, In haste, post-haste, are come to join with you: For in the marches here we heard you were, Making another head to fight again.
EDWARD Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick? And when came George from Burgundy to England?
WARWICK Some six miles off the duke is with the soldiers; And for your brother, he was lately sent From your kind aunt, Duchess of Burgundy, With aid of soldiers to this needful war.
RICHARD 'Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled: Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit, But ne'er till now his scandal of retire.
WARWICK Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear; For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine Can pluck the diadem from faint Henry's head, And wring the awful sceptre from his fist, Were he as famous and as bold in war As he is famed for mildness, peace, and prayer.
RICHARD I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame me not: 'Tis love I bear thy glories makes me speak. But in this troublous time what's to be done? Shall we go throw away our coats of steel, And wrap our bodies in black mourning gowns, Numbering our Ave-Maries with our beads? Or shall we on the helmets of our foes Tell our devotion with revengeful arms? If for the last, say ay, and to it, lords.
WARWICK Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out;
And therefore comes my brother Montague.
Attend me, lords. The proud insulting queen,
With Clifford and the haught Northumberland,
And of their feather many more proud birds,
Have wrought the easy-melting king like wax.
He swore consent to your succession,
His oath enrolled in the parliament;
And now to London all the crew are gone,
To frustrate both his oath and what beside
May make against the house of Lancaster.
Their power, I think, is thirty thousand strong:
Now, if the help of Norfolk and myself,
With all the friends that thou, brave Earl of March,
Amongst the loving Welshmen canst procure,
Will but amount to five and twenty thousand,
Why, Via! to London will we march amain,
And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
And once again cry
Charge upon our foes!
But never once again turn back and fly.
RICHARD Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak:
Ne'er may he live to see a sunshine day,
Retire, if Warwick bid him stay.
EDWARD Lord Warwick, on thy shoulder will I lean; And when thou fail'st--as God forbid the hour!-- Must Edward fall, which peril heaven forfend!
WARWICK No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York: The next degree is England's royal throne; For King of England shalt thou be proclaim'd In every borough as we pass along; And he that throws not up his cap for joy Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head. King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague, Stay we no longer, dreaming of renown, But sound the trumpets, and about our task.
[Enter a Messenger]
RICHARD Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel, As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds, I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine.
EDWARD Then strike up drums: God and Saint George for us!
WARWICK How now! what news?
- KING HENRY VI
Messenger The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me, The queen is coming with a puissant host; And craves your company for speedy counsel.
WARWICK Why then it sorts, brave warriors, let's away.
[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD, CLIFFORD, and NORTHUMBERLAND, with drum and trumpets]
SCENE II Before York.
QUEEN MARGARET Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of York. Yonder's the head of that arch-enemy That sought to be encompass'd with your crown: Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?
KING HENRY VI Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wreck: To see this sight, it irks my very soul. Withhold revenge, dear God! 'tis not my fault, Nor wittingly have I infringed my vow.
CLIFFORD My gracious liege, this too much lenity
And harmful pity must be laid aside.
To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick?
Not his that spoils her young before her face.
Who 'scapes the lurking serpent's mortal sting?
Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
Ambitious York doth level at thy crown,
Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows:
He, but a duke, would have his son a king,
And raise his issue, like a loving sire;
Thou, being a king, blest with a goodly son,
Didst yield consent to disinherit him,
Which argued thee a most unloving father.
Unreasonable creatures feed their young;
And though man's face be fearful to their eyes,
Yet, in protection of their tender ones,
Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
Which sometime they have used with fearful flight,
Make war with him that climb'd unto their nest,
Offer their own lives in their young's defence?
For shame, my liege, make them your precedent!
Were it not pity that this goodly boy
Should lose his birthright by his father's fault,
And long hereafter say unto his child,
What my great-grandfather and his grandsire got
My careless father fondly gave away?
Ah, what a shame were this! Look on the boy;
And let his manly face, which promiseth
Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart
To hold thine own and leave thine own with him.
KING HENRY VI Full well hath Clifford play'd the orator, Inferring arguments of mighty force. But, Clifford, tell me, didst thou never hear That things ill-got had ever bad success? And happy always was it for that son Whose father for his hoarding went to hell? I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind; And would my father had left me no more! For all the rest is held at such a rate As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep Than in possession and jot of pleasure. Ah, cousin York! would thy best friends did know How it doth grieve me that thy head is here!
QUEEN MARGARET My lord, cheer up your spirits: our foes are nigh, And this soft courage makes your followers faint. You promised knighthood to our forward son: Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently. Edward, kneel down.
KING HENRY VI Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight; And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right.
[Enter a Messenger]
PRINCE My gracious father, by your kingly leave, I'll draw it as apparent to the crown, And in that quarrel use it to the death.
CLIFFORD Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.
Messenger Royal commanders, be in readiness: For with a band of thirty thousand men Comes Warwick, backing of the Duke of York; And in the towns, as they do march along, Proclaims him king, and many fly to him: Darraign your battle, for they are at hand.
CLIFFORD I would your highness would depart the field: The queen hath best success when you are absent.
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.
KING HENRY VI Why, that's my fortune too; therefore I'll stay.
[March. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD, WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, and Soldiers]
NORTHUMBERLAND Be it with resolution then to fight.
PRINCE EDWARD My royal father, cheer these noble lords
And hearten those that fight in your defence:
Unsheathe your sword, good father; cry
EDWARD Now, perjured Henry! wilt thou kneel for grace, And set thy diadem upon my head; Or bide the mortal fortune of the field?
QUEEN MARGARET Go, rate thy minions, proud insulting boy! Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?
EDWARD I am his king, and he should bow his knee; I was adopted heir by his consent: Since when, his oath is broke; for, as I hear, You, that are king, though he do wear the crown, Have caused him, by new act of parliament, To blot out me, and put his own son in.
CLIFFORD And reason too: Who should succeed the father but the son?
RICHARD Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak!
CLIFFORD Ay, crook-back, here I stand to answer thee, Or any he the proudest of thy sort.
RICHARD 'Twas you that kill'd young Rutland, was it not?
CLIFFORD Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.
RICHARD For God's sake, lords, give signal to the fight.
WARWICK What say'st thou, Henry, wilt thou yield the crown?
QUEEN MARGARET Why, how now, long-tongued Warwick! dare you speak? When you and I met at Saint Alban's last, Your legs did better service than your hands.
WARWICK Then 'twas my turn to fly, and now 'tis thine.
CLIFFORD You said so much before, and yet you fled.
WARWICK 'Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.
NORTHUMBERLAND No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.
RICHARD Northumberland, I hold thee reverently. Break off the parley; for scarce I can refrain The execution of my big-swoln heart Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.
CLIFFORD I slew thy father, call'st thou him a child?
RICHARD Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward, As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland; But ere sunset I'll make thee curse the deed.
KING HENRY VI Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.
QUEEN MARGARET Defy them then, or else hold close thy lips.
KING HENRY VI I prithee, give no limits to my tongue: I am a king, and privileged to speak.
CLIFFORD My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here Cannot be cured by words; therefore be still.
RICHARD Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword: By him that made us all, I am resolved that Clifford's manhood lies upon his tongue.
EDWARD Say, Henry, shall I have my right, or no? A thousand men have broke their fasts to-day, That ne'er shall dine unless thou yield the crown.
WARWICK If thou deny, their blood upon thy head; For York in justice puts his armour on.
PRINCE EDWARD If that be right which Warwick says is right, There is no wrong, but every thing is right.
RICHARD Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands; For, well I wot, thou hast thy mother's tongue.
QUEEN MARGARET But thou art neither like thy sire nor dam; But like a foul mis-shapen stigmatic, Mark'd by the destinies to be avoided, As venom toads, or lizards' dreadful stings.
RICHARD Iron of Naples hid with English gilt, Whose father bears the title of a king,-- As if a channel should be call'd the sea,-- Shamest thou not, knowing whence thou art extraught, To let thy tongue detect thy base-born heart?
EDWARD A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns, To make this shameless callet know herself. Helen of Greece was fairer far than thou, Although thy husband may be Menelaus; And ne'er was Agamemnon's brother wrong'd By that false woman, as this king by thee. His father revell'd in the heart of France, And tamed the king, and made the dauphin stoop; And had he match'd according to his state, He might have kept that glory to this day; But when he took a beggar to his bed, And graced thy poor sire with his bridal-day, Even then that sunshine brew'd a shower for him, That wash'd his father's fortunes forth of France, And heap'd sedition on his crown at home. For what hath broach'd this tumult but thy pride? Hadst thou been meek, our title still had slept; And we, in pity of the gentle king, Had slipp'd our claim until another age.
GEORGE But when we saw our sunshine made thy spring, And that thy summer bred us no increase, We set the axe to thy usurping root; And though the edge hath something hit ourselves, Yet, know thou, since we have begun to strike, We'll never leave till we have hewn thee down, Or bathed thy growing with our heated bloods.
EDWARD And, in this resolution, I defy thee; Not willing any longer conference, Since thou deniest the gentle king to speak. Sound trumpets! let our bloody colours wave! And either victory, or else a grave.
- KING HENRY VI
QUEEN MARGARET Stay, Edward.
EDWARD No, wrangling woman, we'll no longer stay: These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.
[Alarum. Excursions. Enter WARWICK]
[Enter EDWARD, running]
SCENE III A field of battle between Towton and Saxton, in Yorkshire.
WARWICK Forspent with toil, as runners with a race, I lay me down a little while to breathe; For strokes received, and many blows repaid, Have robb'd my strong-knit sinews of their strength, And spite of spite needs must I rest awhile.
EDWARD Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle death! For this world frowns, and Edward's sun is clouded.
WARWICK How now, my lord! what hap? what hope of good?
GEORGE Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair; Our ranks are broke, and ruin follows us: What counsel give you? whither shall we fly?
EDWARD Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings; And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.
RICHARD Ah, Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn thyself?
Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,
Broach'd with the steely point of Clifford's lance;
And in the very pangs of death he cried,
Like to a dismal clangour heard from far,
Warwick, revenge! brother, revenge my death!
So, underneath the belly of their steeds,
That stain'd their fetlocks in his smoking blood,
The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.
WARWICK Then let the earth be drunken with our blood: I'll kill my horse, because I will not fly. Why stand we like soft-hearted women here, Wailing our losses, whiles the foe doth rage; And look upon, as if the tragedy Were play'd in jest by counterfeiting actors? Here on my knee I vow to God above, I'll never pause again, never stand still, Till either death hath closed these eyes of mine Or fortune given me measure of revenge.
EDWARD O Warwick, I do bend my knee with thine; And in this vow do chain my soul to thine! And, ere my knee rise from the earth's cold face, I throw my hands, mine eyes, my heart to thee, Thou setter up and plucker down of kings, Beseeching thee, if with they will it stands That to my foes this body must be prey, Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ope, And give sweet passage to my sinful soul! Now, lords, take leave until we meet again, Where'er it be, in heaven or in earth.
RICHARD Brother, give me thy hand; and, gentle Warwick, Let me embrace thee in my weary arms: I, that did never weep, now melt with woe That winter should cut off our spring-time so.
- KING HENRY VI
WARWICK Away, away! Once more, sweet lords farewell.
GEORGE Yet let us all together to our troops, And give them leave to fly that will not stay; And call them pillars that will stand to us; And, if we thrive, promise them such rewards As victors wear at the Olympian games: This may plant courage in their quailing breasts; For yet is hope of life and victory. Forslow no longer, make we hence amain.
[Excursions. Enter RICHARD and CLIFFORD]
SCENE IV Another part of the field.
[They fight. WARWICK comes; CLIFFORD flies]
RICHARD Now, Clifford, I have singled thee alone: Suppose this arm is for the Duke of York, And this for Rutland; both bound to revenge, Wert thou environ'd with a brazen wall.
- KING HENRY VI
CLIFFORD Now, Richard, I am with thee here alone: This is the hand that stabb'd thy father York; And this the hand that slew thy brother Rutland; And here's the heart that triumphs in their death And cheers these hands that slew thy sire and brother To execute the like upon thyself; And so, have at thee!
RICHARD Nay Warwick, single out some other chase; For I myself will hunt this wolf to death.
[Alarum. Enter KING HENRY VI alone]
[Alarum. Enter a Son that has killed his father, dragging in the dead body]
SCENE V Another part of the field.
KING HENRY VI This battle fares like to the morning's war, When dying clouds contend with growing light, What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails, Can neither call it perfect day nor night. Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea Forced by the tide to combat with the wind; Now sways it that way, like the selfsame sea Forced to retire by fury of the wind: Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind; Now one the better, then another best; Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast, Yet neither conqueror nor conquered: So is the equal of this fell war. Here on this molehill will I sit me down. To whom God will, there be the victory! For Margaret my queen, and Clifford too, Have chid me from the battle; swearing both They prosper best of all when I am thence. Would I were dead! if God's good will were so; For what is in this world but grief and woe? O God! methinks it were a happy life, To be no better than a homely swain; To sit upon a hill, as I do now, To carve out dials quaintly, point by point, Thereby to see the minutes how they run, How many make the hour full complete; How many hours bring about the day; How many days will finish up the year; How many years a mortal man may live. When this is known, then to divide the times: So many hours must I tend my flock; So many hours must I take my rest; So many hours must I contemplate; So many hours must I sport myself; So many days my ewes have been with young; So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean: So many years ere I shall shear the fleece: So minutes, hours, days, months, and years, Pass'd over to the end they were created, Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave. Ah, what a life were this! how sweet! how lovely! Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade To shepherds looking on their silly sheep, Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy To kings that fear their subjects' treachery? O, yes, it doth; a thousand-fold it doth. And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds, His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle. His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade, All which secure and sweetly he enjoys, Is far beyond a prince's delicates, His viands sparkling in a golden cup, His body couched in a curious bed, When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.
[Enter a Father that has killed his son, bringing in the body]
Son Ill blows the wind that profits nobody. This man, whom hand to hand I slew in fight, May be possessed with some store of crowns; And I, that haply take them from him now, May yet ere night yield both my life and them To some man else, as this dead man doth me. Who's this? O God! it is my father's face, Whom in this conflict I unwares have kill'd. O heavy times, begetting such events! From London by the king was I press'd forth; My father, being the Earl of Warwick's man, Came on the part of York, press'd by his master; And I, who at his hands received my life, him Have by my hands of life bereaved him. Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did! And pardon, father, for I knew not thee! My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks; And no more words till they have flow'd their fill.
KING HENRY VI O piteous spectacle! O bloody times! Whiles lions war and battle for their dens, Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity. Weep, wretched man, I'll aid thee tear for tear; And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war, Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharged with grief.
Father Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me, Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold: For I have bought it with an hundred blows. But let me see: is this our foeman's face? Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son! Ah, boy, if any life be left in thee, Throw up thine eye! see, see what showers arise, Blown with the windy tempest of my heart, Upon thy words, that kill mine eye and heart! O, pity, God, this miserable age! What stratagems, how fell, how butcherly, Erroneous, mutinous and unnatural, This deadly quarrel daily doth beget! O boy, thy father gave thee life too soon, And hath bereft thee of thy life too late!
KING HENRY VI Woe above woe! grief more than common grief! O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds! O pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity! The red rose and the white are on his face, The fatal colours of our striving houses: The one his purple blood right well resembles; The other his pale cheeks, methinks, presenteth: Wither one rose, and let the other flourish; If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.
Son How will my mother for a father's death Take on with me and ne'er be satisfied!
Father How will my wife for slaughter of my son Shed seas of tears and ne'er be satisfied!
KING HENRY VI How will the country for these woful chances Misthink the king and not be satisfied!
Son Was ever son so rued a father's death?
Father Was ever father so bemoan'd his son?
[Exit with the body]
KING HENRY VI Was ever king so grieved for subjects' woe? Much is your sorrow; mine ten times so much.
[Exit with the body]
Son I'll bear thee hence, where I may weep my fill.
[Alarums: excursions. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD, and EXETER]
Father These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet; My heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulchre, For from my heart thine image ne'er shall go; My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell; And so obsequious will thy father be, Even for the loss of thee, having no more, As Priam was for all his valiant sons. I'll bear thee hence; and let them fight that will, For I have murdered where I should not kill.
KING HENRY VI Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care, Here sits a king more woful than you are.
PRINCE EDWARD Fly, father, fly! for all your friends are fled, And Warwick rages like a chafed bull: Away! for death doth hold us in pursuit.
QUEEN MARGARET Mount you, my lord; towards Berwick post amain: Edward and Richard, like a brace of greyhounds Having the fearful flying hare in sight, With fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath, And bloody steel grasp'd in their ireful hands, Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain.
- KING HENRY VI
EXETER Away! for vengeance comes along with them: Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed; Or else come after: I'll away before.
KING HENRY VI Nay, take me with thee, good sweet Exeter: Not that I fear to stay, but love to go Whither the queen intends. Forward; away!
[A loud alarum. Enter CLIFFORD, wounded]
[Alarum and retreat. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers]
SCENE VI Another part of the field.
CLIFFORD Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies, Which, whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light. O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow More than my body's parting with my soul! My love and fear glued many friends to thee; And, now I fall, thy tough commixture melts. Impairing Henry, strengthening misproud York, The common people swarm like summer flies; And whither fly the gnats but to the sun? And who shines now but Henry's enemies? O Phoebus, hadst thou never given consent That Phaethon should cheque thy fiery steeds, Thy burning car never had scorch'd the earth! And, Henry, hadst thou sway'd as kings should do, Or as thy father and his father did, Giving no ground unto the house of York, They never then had sprung like summer flies; I and ten thousand in this luckless realm Had left no mourning widows for our death; And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace. For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air? And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity? Bootless are plaints, and cureless are my wounds; No way to fly, nor strength to hold out flight: The foe is merciless, and will not pity; For at their hands I have deserved no pity. The air hath got into my deadly wounds, And much effuse of blood doth make me faint. Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest; I stabb'd your fathers' bosoms, split my breast.
[CLIFFORD groans, and dies]
EDWARD Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause, And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks. Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen, That led calm Henry, though he were a king, As doth a sail, fill'd with a fretting gust, Command an argosy to stem the waves. But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them?
WARWICK No, 'tis impossible he should escape, For, though before his face I speak the words Your brother Richard mark'd him for the grave: And wheresoe'er he is, he's surely dead.
EDWARD Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?
RICHARD A deadly groan, like life and death's departing.
EDWARD See who it is: and, now the battle's ended, If friend or foe, let him be gently used.
RICHARD Revoke that doom of mercy, for 'tis Clifford; Who not contented that he lopp'd the branch In hewing Rutland when his leaves put forth, But set his murdering knife unto the root From whence that tender spray did sweetly spring, I mean our princely father, Duke of York.
WARWICK From off the gates of York fetch down the head, Your father's head, which Clifford placed there; Instead whereof let this supply the room: Measure for measure must be answered.
EDWARD Bring forth that fatal screech-owl to our house, That nothing sung but death to us and ours: Now death shall stop his dismal threatening sound, And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.
WARWICK I think his understanding is bereft. Speak, Clifford, dost thou know who speaks to thee? Dark cloudy death o'ershades his beams of life, And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.
RICHARD O, would he did! and so perhaps he doth: 'Tis but his policy to counterfeit, Because he would avoid such bitter taunts Which in the time of death he gave our father.
GEORGE If so thou think'st, vex him with eager words.
RICHARD Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.
EDWARD Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.
WARWICK Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.
GEORGE While we devise fell tortures for thy faults.
RICHARD Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.
EDWARD Thou pitied'st Rutland; I will pity thee.
GEORGE Where's Captain Margaret, to fence you now?
WARWICK They mock thee, Clifford: swear as thou wast wont.
RICHARD What, not an oath? nay, then the world goes hard When Clifford cannot spare his friends an oath. I know by that he's dead; and, by my soul, If this right hand would buy two hour's life, That I in all despite might rail at him, This hand should chop it off, and with the issuing blood Stifle the villain whose unstanched thirst York and young Rutland could not satisfy.
WARWICK Ay, but he's dead: off with the traitor's head, And rear it in the place your father's stands. And now to London with triumphant march, There to be crowned England's royal king: From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France, And ask the Lady Bona for thy queen: So shalt thou sinew both these lands together; And, having France thy friend, thou shalt not dread The scatter'd foe that hopes to rise again; For though they cannot greatly sting to hurt, Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears. First will I see the coronation; And then to Brittany I'll cross the sea, To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.
EDWARD Even as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be; For in thy shoulder do I build my seat, And never will I undertake the thing Wherein thy counsel and consent is wanting. Richard, I will create thee Duke of Gloucester, And George, of Clarence: Warwick, as ourself, Shall do and undo as him pleaseth best.
- KING HENRY VI
RICHARD Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester; For Gloucester's dukedom is too ominous.
WARWICK Tut, that's a foolish observation: Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London, To see these honours in possession.
[Enter two Keepers, with cross-bows in their hands]
SCENE I A forest in the north of England.
First Keeper Under this thick-grown brake we'll shroud ourselves; For through this laund anon the deer will come; And in this covert will we make our stand, Culling the principal of all the deer.
Second Keeper I'll stay above the hill, so both may shoot.
[Enter KING HENRY VI, disguised, with a prayerbook]
First Keeper That cannot be; the noise of thy cross-bow Will scare the herd, and so my shoot is lost. Here stand we both, and aim we at the best: And, for the time shall not seem tedious, I'll tell thee what befell me on a day In this self-place where now we mean to stand.
Second Keeper Here comes a man; let's stay till he be past.
KING HENRY VI From Scotland am I stol'n, even of pure love, To greet mine own land with my wishful sight. No, Harry, Harry, 'tis no land of thine; Thy place is fill'd, thy sceptre wrung from thee, Thy balm wash'd off wherewith thou wast anointed: No bending knee will call thee Caesar now, No humble suitors press to speak for right, No, not a man comes for redress of thee; For how can I help them, and not myself?
First Keeper Ay, here's a deer whose skin's a keeper's fee: This is the quondam king; let's seize upon him.
KING HENRY VI Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, For wise men say it is the wisest course.
Second Keeper Why linger we? let us lay hands upon him.
First Keeper Forbear awhile; we'll hear a little more.
KING HENRY VI My queen and son are gone to France for aid; And, as I hear, the great commanding Warwick Is thither gone, to crave the French king's sister To wife for Edward: if this news be true, Poor queen and son, your labour is but lost; For Warwick is a subtle orator, And Lewis a prince soon won with moving words. By this account then Margaret may win him; For she's a woman to be pitied much: Her sighs will make a battery in his breast; Her tears will pierce into a marble heart; The tiger will be mild whiles she doth mourn; And Nero will be tainted with remorse, To hear and see her plaints, her brinish tears. Ay, but she's come to beg, Warwick to give; She, on his left side, craving aid for Henry, He, on his right, asking a wife for Edward. She weeps, and says her Henry is deposed; He smiles, and says his Edward is install'd; That she, poor wretch, for grief can speak no more; Whiles Warwick tells his title, smooths the wrong, Inferreth arguments of mighty strength, And in conclusion wins the king from her, With promise of his sister, and what else, To strengthen and support King Edward's place. O Margaret, thus 'twill be; and thou, poor soul, Art then forsaken, as thou went'st forlorn!
Second Keeper Say, what art thou that talk'st of kings and queens?
KING HENRY VI More than I seem, and less than I was born to: A man at least, for less I should not be; And men may talk of kings, and why not I?
Second Keeper Ay, but thou talk'st as if thou wert a king.
KING HENRY VI Why, so I am, in mind; and that's enough.
Second Keeper But, if thou be a king, where is thy crown?
KING HENRY VI My crown is in my heart, not on my head; Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: my crown is called content: A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.
Second Keeper Well, if you be a king crown'd with content, Your crown content and you must be contented To go along with us; for as we think, You are the king King Edward hath deposed; And we his subjects sworn in all allegiance Will apprehend you as his enemy.
KING HENRY VI But did you never swear, and break an oath?
Second Keeper No, never such an oath; nor will not now.
KING HENRY VI Where did you dwell when I was King of England?
Second Keeper Here in this country, where we now remain.
KING HENRY VI I was anointed king at nine months old; My father and my grandfather were kings, And you were sworn true subjects unto me: And tell me, then, have you not broke your oaths?
First Keeper No; For we were subjects but while you were king.
KING HENRY VI Why, am I dead? do I not breathe a man? Ah, simple men, you know not what you swear! Look, as I blow this feather from my face, And as the air blows it to me again, Obeying with my wind when I do blow, And yielding to another when it blows, Commanded always by the greater gust; Such is the lightness of you common men. But do not break your oaths; for of that sin My mild entreaty shall not make you guilty. Go where you will, the king shall be commanded; And be you kings, command, and I'll obey.
First Keeper We are true subjects to the king, King Edward.
KING HENRY VI So would you be again to Henry, If he were seated as King Edward is.
- KING HENRY VI
First Keeper We charge you, in God's name, and the king's, To go with us unto the officers.
KING HENRY VI In God's name, lead; your king's name be obey'd: And what God will, that let your king perform; And what he will, I humbly yield unto.
[Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and LADY GREY]
SCENE II London. The palace.
KING EDWARD IV Brother of Gloucester, at Saint Alban's field This lady's husband, Sir Richard Grey, was slain, His lands then seized on by the conqueror: Her suit is now to repossess those lands; Which we in justice cannot well deny, Because in quarrel of the house of York The worthy gentleman did lose his life.
GLOUCESTER Your highness shall do well to grant her suit; It were dishonour to deny it her.
KING EDWARD IV It were no less; but yet I'll make a pause.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] Yea, is it so? I see the lady hath a thing to grant, Before the king will grant her humble suit.
CLARENCE [Aside to GLOUCESTER] He knows the game: how true he keeps the wind!
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] Silence!
KING EDWARD IV Widow, we will consider of your suit; And come some other time to know our mind.
LADY GREY Right gracious lord, I cannot brook delay: May it please your highness to resolve me now; And what your pleasure is, shall satisfy me.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] Ay, widow? then I'll warrant you all your lands, An if what pleases him shall pleasure you. Fight closer, or, good faith, you'll catch a blow.
CLARENCE [Aside to GLOUCESTER] I fear her not, unless she chance to fall.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] God forbid that! for he'll take vantages.
KING EDWARD IV How many children hast thou, widow? tell me.
CLARENCE [Aside to GLOUCESTER] I think he means to beg a child of her.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] Nay, whip me then: he'll rather give her two.
LADY GREY Three, my most gracious lord.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] You shall have four, if you'll be ruled by him.
KING EDWARD IV 'Twere pity they should lose their father's lands.
LADY GREY Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it then.
[GLOUCESTER and CLARENCE retire]
KING EDWARD IV Lords, give us leave: I'll try this widow's wit.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] Ay, good leave have you; for you will have leave, Till youth take leave and leave you to the crutch.
KING EDWARD IV Now tell me, madam, do you love your children?
LADY GREY Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.
KING EDWARD IV And would you not do much to do them good?
LADY GREY To do them good, I would sustain some harm.
KING EDWARD IV Then get your husband's lands, to do them good.
LADY GREY Therefore I came unto your majesty.
KING EDWARD IV I'll tell you how these lands are to be got.
LADY GREY So shall you bind me to your highness' service.
KING EDWARD IV What service wilt thou do me, if I give them?
LADY GREY What you command, that rests in me to do.
KING EDWARD IV But you will take exceptions to my boon.
LADY GREY No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.
KING EDWARD IV Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to ask.
LADY GREY Why, then I will do what your grace commands.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] He plies her hard; and much rain wears the marble.
CLARENCE [Aside to GLOUCESTER] As red as fire! nay, then her wax must melt.
LADY GREY Why stops my lord, shall I not hear my task?
KING EDWARD IV An easy task; 'tis but to love a king.
LADY GREY That's soon perform'd, because I am a subject.
KING EDWARD IV Why, then, thy husband's lands I freely give thee.
LADY GREY I take my leave with many thousand thanks.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] The match is made; she seals it with a curtsy.
KING EDWARD IV But stay thee, 'tis the fruits of love I mean.
LADY GREY The fruits of love I mean, my loving liege.
KING EDWARD IV Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense. What love, think'st thou, I sue so much to get?
LADY GREY My love till death, my humble thanks, my prayers; That love which virtue begs and virtue grants.
KING EDWARD IV No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.
LADY GREY Why, then you mean not as I thought you did.
KING EDWARD IV But now you partly may perceive my mind.
LADY GREY My mind will never grant what I perceive Your highness aims at, if I aim aright.
KING EDWARD IV To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.
LADY GREY To tell you plain, I had rather lie in prison.
KING EDWARD IV Why, then thou shalt not have thy husband's lands.
LADY GREY Why, then mine honesty shall be my dower; For by that loss I will not purchase them.
KING EDWARD IV Therein thou wrong'st thy children mightily.
LADY GREY Herein your highness wrongs both them and me.
But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
Accords not with the sadness of my suit:
Please you dismiss me either with
KING EDWARD IV Ay, if thou wilt say
ay to my request;
No if thou dost say
no to my demand.
LADY GREY Then, no, my lord. My suit is at an end.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] The widow likes him not, she knits her brows.
CLARENCE [Aside to GLOUCESTER] He is the bluntest wooer in Christendom.
KING EDWARD IV [Aside] Her looks do argue her replete with modesty; Her words do show her wit incomparable; All her perfections challenge sovereignty: One way or other, she is for a king; And she shall be my love, or else my queen.-- Say that King Edward take thee for his queen?
LADY GREY 'Tis better said than done, my gracious lord: I am a subject fit to jest withal, But far unfit to be a sovereign.
KING EDWARD IV Sweet widow, by my state I swear to thee I speak no more than what my soul intends; And that is, to enjoy thee for my love.
LADY GREY And that is more than I will yield unto: I know I am too mean to be your queen, And yet too good to be your concubine.
KING EDWARD IV You cavil, widow: I did mean, my queen.
LADY GREY 'Twill grieve your grace my sons should call you father.
KING EDWARD IV No more than when my daughters call thee mother. Thou art a widow, and thou hast some children; And, by God's mother, I, being but a bachelor, Have other some: why, 'tis a happy thing To be the father unto many sons. Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.
GLOUCESTER [Aside to CLARENCE] The ghostly father now hath done his shrift.
CLARENCE [Aside to GLOUCESTER] When he was made a shriver, 'twas for shift.
KING EDWARD IV Brothers, you muse what chat we two have had.
GLOUCESTER The widow likes it not, for she looks very sad.
KING EDWARD IV You'll think it strange if I should marry her.
CLARENCE To whom, my lord?
KING EDWARD IV Why, Clarence, to myself.
GLOUCESTER That would be ten days' wonder at the least.
CLARENCE That's a day longer than a wonder lasts.
[Enter a Nobleman]
GLOUCESTER By so much is the wonder in extremes.
KING EDWARD IV Well, jest on, brothers: I can tell you both Her suit is granted for her husband's lands.
[Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER]
Nobleman My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken, And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.
- KING HENRY VI
KING EDWARD IV See that he be convey'd unto the Tower: And go we, brothers, to the man that took him, To question of his apprehension. Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honourably.
GLOUCESTER Ay, Edward will use women honourably.
Would he were wasted, marrow, bones and all,
That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring,
To cross me from the golden time I look for!
And yet, between my soul's desire and me--
The lustful Edward's title buried--
Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,
And all the unlook'd for issue of their bodies,
To take their rooms, ere I can place myself:
A cold premeditation for my purpose!
Why, then, I do but dream on sovereignty;
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
Saying, he'll lade it dry to have his way:
So do I wish the crown, being so far off;
And so I chide the means that keeps me from it;
And so I say, I'll cut the causes off,
Flattering me with impossibilities.
My eye's too quick, my heart o'erweens too much,
Unless my hand and strength could equal them.
Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard;
What other pleasure can the world afford?
I'll make my heaven in a lady's lap,
And deck my body in gay ornaments,
And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
O miserable thought! and more unlikely
Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns!
Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb:
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe,
To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick'd bear-whelp
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be beloved?
O monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought!
Then, since this earth affords no joy to me,
But to command, to cheque, to o'erbear such
As are of better person than myself,
I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell,
Until my mis-shaped trunk that bears this head
Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
And yet I know not how to get the crown,
For many lives stand between me and home:
And I,--like one lost in a thorny wood,
That rends the thorns and is rent with the thorns,
Seeking a way and straying from the way;
Not knowing how to find the open air,
But toiling desperately to find it out,--
Torment myself to catch the English crown:
And from that torment I will free myself,
Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
Content to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down.
[Flourish. Enter KING LEWIS XI, his sister BONA, his Admiral, called BOURBON, PRINCE EDWARD, QUEEN MARGARET, and OXFORD. KING LEWIS XI sits, and riseth up again]
SCENE III France. KING LEWIS XI's palace.
KING LEWIS XI Fair Queen of England, worthy Margaret, Sit down with us: it ill befits thy state And birth, that thou shouldst stand while Lewis doth sit.
QUEEN MARGARET No, mighty King of France: now Margaret Must strike her sail and learn awhile to serve Where kings command. I was, I must confess, Great Albion's queen in former golden days: But now mischance hath trod my title down, And with dishonour laid me on the ground; Where I must take like seat unto my fortune, And to my humble seat conform myself.
KING LEWIS XI Why, say, fair queen, whence springs this deep despair?
[Seats her by him]
Yield not thy neck To fortune's yoke, but let thy dauntless mind Still ride in triumph over all mischance. Be plain, Queen Margaret, and tell thy grief; It shall be eased, if France can yield relief.
QUEEN MARGARET From such a cause as fills mine eyes with tears And stops my tongue, while heart is drown'd in cares.
KING LEWIS XI Whate'er it be, be thou still like thyself, And sit thee by our side:
QUEEN MARGARET Those gracious words revive my drooping thoughts And give my tongue-tied sorrows leave to speak. Now, therefore, be it known to noble Lewis, That Henry, sole possessor of my love, Is of a king become a banish'd man, And forced to live in Scotland a forlorn; While proud ambitious Edward Duke of York Usurps the regal title and the seat Of England's true-anointed lawful king. This is the cause that I, poor Margaret, With this my son, Prince Edward, Henry's heir, Am come to crave thy just and lawful aid; And if thou fail us, all our hope is done: Scotland hath will to help, but cannot help; Our people and our peers are both misled, Our treasures seized, our soldiers put to flight, And, as thou seest, ourselves in heavy plight.
KING LEWIS XI Renowned queen, with patience calm the storm, While we bethink a means to break it off.
QUEEN MARGARET The more we stay, the stronger grows our foe.
KING LEWIS XI The more I stay, the more I'll succor thee.
QUEEN MARGARET O, but impatience waiteth on true sorrow. And see where comes the breeder of my sorrow!
KING LEWIS XI What's he approacheth boldly to our presence?
[He descends. She ariseth]
QUEEN MARGARET Our Earl of Warwick, Edward's greatest friend.
KING LEWIS XI Welcome, brave Warwick! What brings thee to France?
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, now begins a second storm to rise; For this is he that moves both wind and tide.
WARWICK From worthy Edward, King of Albion, My lord and sovereign, and thy vowed friend, I come, in kindness and unfeigned love, First, to do greetings to thy royal person; And then to crave a league of amity; And lastly, to confirm that amity With a nuptial knot, if thou vouchsafe to grant That virtuous Lady Bona, thy fair sister, To England's king in lawful marriage.
QUEEN MARGARET [Aside] If that go forward, Henry's hope is done.
WARWICK [To BONA] And, gracious madam, in our king's behalf, I am commanded, with your leave and favour, Humbly to kiss your hand, and with my tongue To tell the passion of my sovereign's heart; Where fame, late entering at his heedful ears, Hath placed thy beauty's image and thy virtue.
QUEEN MARGARET King Lewis and Lady Bona, hear me speak, Before you answer Warwick. His demand Springs not from Edward's well-meant honest love, But from deceit bred by necessity; For how can tyrants safely govern home, Unless abroad they purchase great alliance? To prove him tyrant this reason may suffice, That Henry liveth still: but were he dead, Yet here Prince Edward stands, King Henry's son. Look, therefore, Lewis, that by this league and marriage Thou draw not on thy danger and dishonour; For though usurpers sway the rule awhile, Yet heavens are just, and time suppresseth wrongs.
WARWICK Injurious Margaret!
PRINCE EDWARD And why not queen?
WARWICK Because thy father Henry did usurp; And thou no more are prince than she is queen.
OXFORD Then Warwick disannuls great John of Gaunt, Which did subdue the greatest part of Spain; And, after John of Gaunt, Henry the Fourth, Whose wisdom was a mirror to the wisest; And, after that wise prince, Henry the Fifth, Who by his prowess conquered all France: From these our Henry lineally descends.
WARWICK Oxford, how haps it, in this smooth discourse, You told not how Henry the Sixth hath lost All that which Henry Fifth had gotten? Methinks these peers of France should smile at that. But for the rest, you tell a pedigree Of threescore and two years; a silly time To make prescription for a kingdom's worth.
OXFORD Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy liege, Whom thou obeyed'st thirty and six years, And not bewray thy treason with a blush?
WARWICK Can Oxford, that did ever fence the right, Now buckler falsehood with a pedigree? For shame! leave Henry, and call Edward king.
OXFORD Call him my king by whose injurious doom My elder brother, the Lord Aubrey Vere, Was done to death? and more than so, my father, Even in the downfall of his mellow'd years, When nature brought him to the door of death? No, Warwick, no; while life upholds this arm, This arm upholds the house of Lancaster.
[They stand aloof]
WARWICK And I the house of York.
KING LEWIS XI Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, and Oxford, Vouchsafe, at our request, to stand aside, While I use further conference with Warwick.
QUEEN MARGARET Heavens grant that Warwick's words bewitch him not!
KING LEWIS XI Now Warwick, tell me, even upon thy conscience, Is Edward your true king? for I were loath To link with him that were not lawful chosen.
WARWICK Thereon I pawn my credit and mine honour.
KING LEWIS XI But is he gracious in the people's eye?
WARWICK The more that Henry was unfortunate.
KING LEWIS XI Then further, all dissembling set aside, Tell me for truth the measure of his love Unto our sister Bona.
WARWICK Such it seems As may beseem a monarch like himself. Myself have often heard him say and swear That this his love was an eternal plant, Whereof the root was fix'd in virtue's ground, The leaves and fruit maintain'd with beauty's sun, Exempt from envy, but not from disdain, Unless the Lady Bona quit his pain.
Yet I confess that often ere this day, When I have heard your king's desert recounted, Mine ear hath tempted judgment to desire.
KING LEWIS XI Now, sister, let us hear your firm resolve.
BONA Your grant, or your denial, shall be mine:
KING LEWIS XI Then, Warwick, thus: our sister shall be Edward's; And now forthwith shall articles be drawn Touching the jointure that your king must make, Which with her dowry shall be counterpoised. Draw near, Queen Margaret, and be a witness That Bona shall be wife to the English king.
PRINCE EDWARD To Edward, but not to the English king.
QUEEN MARGARET Deceitful Warwick! it was thy device By this alliance to make void my suit: Before thy coming Lewis was Henry's friend.
KING LEWIS XI And still is friend to him and Margaret: But if your title to the crown be weak, As may appear by Edward's good success, Then 'tis but reason that I be released From giving aid which late I promised. Yet shall you have all kindness at my hand That your estate requires and mine can yield.
[Post blows a horn within]
WARWICK Henry now lives in Scotland at his ease, Where having nothing, nothing can he lose. And as for you yourself, our quondam queen, You have a father able to maintain you; And better 'twere you troubled him than France.
[Enter a Post]
QUEEN MARGARET Peace, impudent and shameless Warwick, peace, Proud setter up and puller down of kings! I will not hence, till, with my talk and tears, Both full of truth, I make King Lewis behold Thy sly conveyance and thy lord's false love; For both of you are birds of selfsame feather.
[To KING LEWIS XI]
These from our king unto your majesty:
[To QUEEN MARGARET]
And, madam, these for you; from whom I know not.
[They all read their letters]
KING LEWIS XI Warwick, this is some post to us or thee.
Post [To WARWICK] My lord ambassador, these letters are for you, Sent from your brother, Marquess Montague:
OXFORD I like it well that our fair queen and mistress Smiles at her news, while Warwick frowns at his.
PRINCE EDWARD Nay, mark how Lewis stamps, as he were nettled: I hope all's for the best.
KING LEWIS XI Warwick, what are thy news? and yours, fair queen?
QUEEN MARGARET Mine, such as fill my heart with unhoped joys.
WARWICK Mine, full of sorrow and heart's discontent.
KING LEWIS XI What! has your king married the Lady Grey! And now, to soothe your forgery and his, Sends me a paper to persuade me patience? Is this the alliance that he seeks with France? Dare he presume to scorn us in this manner?
QUEEN MARGARET I told your majesty as much before: This proveth Edward's love and Warwick's honesty.
WARWICK King Lewis, I here protest, in sight of heaven, And by the hope I have of heavenly bliss, That I am clear from this misdeed of Edward's, No more my king, for he dishonours me, But most himself, if he could see his shame. Did I forget that by the house of York My father came untimely to his death? Did I let pass the abuse done to my niece? Did I impale him with the regal crown? Did I put Henry from his native right? And am I guerdon'd at the last with shame? Shame on himself! for my desert is honour: And to repair my honour lost for him, I here renounce him and return to Henry. My noble queen, let former grudges pass, And henceforth I am thy true servitor: I will revenge his wrong to Lady Bona, And replant Henry in his former state.
QUEEN MARGARET Warwick, these words have turn'd my hate to love; And I forgive and quite forget old faults, And joy that thou becomest King Henry's friend.
WARWICK So much his friend, ay, his unfeigned friend, That, if King Lewis vouchsafe to furnish us With some few bands of chosen soldiers, I'll undertake to land them on our coast And force the tyrant from his seat by war. 'Tis not his new-made bride shall succor him: And as for Clarence, as my letters tell me, He's very likely now to fall from him, For matching more for wanton lust than honour, Or than for strength and safety of our country.
BONA Dear brother, how shall Bona be revenged But by thy help to this distressed queen?
QUEEN MARGARET Renowned prince, how shall poor Henry live, Unless thou rescue him from foul despair?
BONA My quarrel and this English queen's are one.
WARWICK And mine, fair lady Bona, joins with yours.
KING LEWIS XI And mine with hers, and thine, and Margaret's. Therefore at last I firmly am resolved You shall have aid.
QUEEN MARGARET Let me give humble thanks for all at once.
KING LEWIS XI Then, England's messenger, return in post, And tell false Edward, thy supposed king, That Lewis of France is sending over masquers To revel it with him and his new bride: Thou seest what's past, go fear thy king withal.
BONA Tell him, in hope he'll prove a widower shortly, I'll wear the willow garland for his sake.
QUEEN MARGARET Tell him, my mourning weeds are laid aside, And I am ready to put armour on.
WARWICK Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong, And therefore I'll uncrown him ere't be long. There's thy reward: be gone.
KING LEWIS XI But, Warwick, Thou and Oxford, with five thousand men, Shall cross the seas, and bid false Edward battle; And, as occasion serves, this noble queen And prince shall follow with a fresh supply. Yet, ere thou go, but answer me one doubt, What pledge have we of thy firm loyalty?
WARWICK This shall assure my constant loyalty, That if our queen and this young prince agree, I'll join mine eldest daughter and my joy To him forthwith in holy wedlock bands.
[He gives his hand to WARWICK]
QUEEN MARGARET Yes, I agree, and thank you for your motion. Son Edward, she is fair and virtuous, Therefore delay not, give thy hand to Warwick; And, with thy hand, thy faith irrevocable, That only Warwick's daughter shall be thine.
[Exeunt all but WARWICK]
PRINCE EDWARD Yes, I accept her, for she well deserves it; And here, to pledge my vow, I give my hand.
- KING HENRY VI
KING LEWIS XI Why stay we now? These soldiers shall be levied, And thou, Lord Bourbon, our high admiral, Shalt waft them over with our royal fleet. I long till Edward fall by war's mischance, For mocking marriage with a dame of France.
WARWICK I came from Edward as ambassador, But I return his sworn and mortal foe: Matter of marriage was the charge he gave me, But dreadful war shall answer his demand. Had he none else to make a stale but me? Then none but I shall turn his jest to sorrow. I was the chief that raised him to the crown, And I'll be chief to bring him down again: Not that I pity Henry's misery, But seek revenge on Edward's mockery.
[Enter GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, SOMERSET, and MONTAGUE]
SCENE I London. The palace.
GLOUCESTER Now tell me, brother Clarence, what think you Of this new marriage with the Lady Grey? Hath not our brother made a worthy choice?
CLARENCE Alas, you know, 'tis far from hence to France; How could he stay till Warwick made return?
SOMERSET My lords, forbear this talk; here comes the king.
[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, attended; QUEEN ELIZABETH, PEMBROKE, STAFFORD, HASTINGS, and others]
GLOUCESTER And his well-chosen bride.
CLARENCE I mind to tell him plainly what I think.
KING EDWARD IV Now, brother of Clarence, how like you our choice, That you stand pensive, as half malcontent?
CLARENCE As well as Lewis of France, or the Earl of Warwick, Which are so weak of courage and in judgment That they'll take no offence at our abuse.
KING EDWARD IV Suppose they take offence without a cause, They are but Lewis and Warwick: I am Edward, Your king and Warwick's, and must have my will.
GLOUCESTER And shall have your will, because our king: Yet hasty marriage seldom proveth well.
KING EDWARD IV Yea, brother Richard, are you offended too?
GLOUCESTER Not I: No, God forbid that I should wish them sever'd Whom God hath join'd together; ay, and 'twere pity To sunder them that yoke so well together.
KING EDWARD IV Setting your scorns and your mislike aside, Tell me some reason why the Lady Grey Should not become my wife and England's queen. And you too, Somerset and Montague, Speak freely what you think.
CLARENCE Then this is mine opinion: that King Lewis Becomes your enemy, for mocking him About the marriage of the Lady Bona.
GLOUCESTER And Warwick, doing what you gave in charge, Is now dishonoured by this new marriage.
KING EDWARD IV What if both Lewis and Warwick be appeased By such invention as I can devise?
MONTAGUE Yet, to have join'd with France in such alliance Would more have strengthen'd this our commonwealth 'Gainst foreign storms than any home-bred marriage.
HASTINGS Why, knows not Montague that of itself England is safe, if true within itself?
MONTAGUE But the safer when 'tis back'd with France.
HASTINGS 'Tis better using France than trusting France: Let us be back'd with God and with the seas Which He hath given for fence impregnable, And with their helps only defend ourselves; In them and in ourselves our safety lies.
CLARENCE For this one speech Lord Hastings well deserves To have the heir of the Lord Hungerford.
KING EDWARD IV Ay, what of that? it was my will and grant; And for this once my will shall stand for law.
GLOUCESTER And yet methinks your grace hath not done well, To give the heir and daughter of Lord Scales Unto the brother of your loving bride; She better would have fitted me or Clarence: But in your bride you bury brotherhood.
CLARENCE Or else you would not have bestow'd the heir Of the Lord Bonville on your new wife's son, And leave your brothers to go speed elsewhere.
KING EDWARD IV Alas, poor Clarence! is it for a wife That thou art malcontent? I will provide thee.
CLARENCE In choosing for yourself, you show'd your judgment, Which being shallow, you give me leave To play the broker in mine own behalf; And to that end I shortly mind to leave you.
KING EDWARD IV Leave me, or tarry, Edward will be king, And not be tied unto his brother's will.
QUEEN ELIZABETH My lords, before it pleased his majesty To raise my state to title of a queen, Do me but right, and you must all confess That I was not ignoble of descent; And meaner than myself have had like fortune. But as this title honours me and mine, So your dislike, to whom I would be pleasing, Doth cloud my joys with danger and with sorrow.
[Enter a Post]
KING EDWARD IV My love, forbear to fawn upon their frowns: What danger or what sorrow can befall thee, So long as Edward is thy constant friend, And their true sovereign, whom they must obey? Nay, whom they shall obey, and love thee too, Unless they seek for hatred at my hands; Which if they do, yet will I keep thee safe, And they shall feel the vengeance of my wrath.
GLOUCESTER [Aside] I hear, yet say not much, but think the more.
KING EDWARD IV Now, messenger, what letters or what news From France?
Post My sovereign liege, no letters; and few words, But such as I, without your special pardon, Dare not relate.
KING EDWARD IV Go to, we pardon thee: therefore, in brief, Tell me their words as near as thou canst guess them. What answer makes King Lewis unto our letters?
Post At my depart, these were his very words:
Go tell false Edward, thy supposed king,
That Lewis of France is sending over masquers
To revel it with him and his new bride.
KING EDWARD IV Is Lewis so brave? belike he thinks me Henry. But what said Lady Bona to my marriage?
Post These were her words, utter'd with mad disdain: 'Tell him, in hope he'll prove a widower shortly, I'll wear the willow garland for his sake.'
KING EDWARD IV I blame not her, she could say little less; She had the wrong. But what said Henry's queen? For I have heard that she was there in place.
Tell him, quoth she,
my mourning weeds are done,
And I am ready to put armour on.
KING EDWARD IV Belike she minds to play the Amazon. But what said Warwick to these injuries?
Post He, more incensed against your majesty Than all the rest, discharged me with these words: 'Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong, And therefore I'll uncrown him ere't be long.'
KING EDWARD IV Ha! durst the traitor breathe out so proud words? Well I will arm me, being thus forewarn'd: They shall have wars and pay for their presumption. But say, is Warwick friends with Margaret?
[Exit CLARENCE, and SOMERSET follows]
Post Ay, gracious sovereign; they are so link'd in friendship That young Prince Edward marries Warwick's daughter.
CLARENCE Belike the elder; Clarence will have the younger. Now, brother king, farewell, and sit you fast, For I will hence to Warwick's other daughter; That, though I want a kingdom, yet in marriage I may not prove inferior to yourself. You that love me and Warwick, follow me.
[Exeunt PEMBROKE and STAFFORD]
But, ere I go, Hastings and Montague, Resolve my doubt. You twain, of all the rest, Are near to Warwick by blood and by alliance: Tell me if you love Warwick more than me? If it be so, then both depart to him; I rather wish you foes than hollow friends: But if you mind to hold your true obedience, Give me assurance with some friendly vow, That I may never have you in suspect.
GLOUCESTER [Aside] Not I: My thoughts aim at a further matter; I Stay not for the love of Edward, but the crown.
KING EDWARD IV Clarence and Somerset both gone to Warwick! Yet am I arm'd against the worst can happen; And haste is needful in this desperate case. Pembroke and Stafford, you in our behalf Go levy men, and make prepare for war; They are already, or quickly will be landed: Myself in person will straight follow you.
MONTAGUE So God help Montague as he proves true!
HASTINGS And Hastings as he favours Edward's cause!
KING EDWARD IV Now, brother Richard, will you stand by us?
- KING HENRY VI
GLOUCESTER Ay, in despite of all that shall withstand you.
KING EDWARD IV Why, so! then am I sure of victory. Now therefore let us hence; and lose no hour, Till we meet Warwick with his foreign power.
[Enter WARWICK and OXFORD, with French soldiers]
[Enter CLARENCE and SOMERSET]
But see where Somerset and Clarence come! Speak suddenly, my lords, are we all friends?
SCENE II A plain in Warwickshire.
WARWICK Trust me, my lord, all hitherto goes well; The common people by numbers swarm to us.
[They all cry, 'Henry!']
Why, then, let's on our way in silent sort: For Warwick and his friends, God and Saint George!
- KING HENRY VI
CLARENCE Fear not that, my lord.
WARWICK Then, gentle Clarence, welcome unto Warwick; And welcome, Somerset: I hold it cowardice To rest mistrustful where a noble heart Hath pawn'd an open hand in sign of love; Else might I think that Clarence, Edward's brother, Were but a feigned friend to our proceedings: But welcome, sweet Clarence; my daughter shall be thine. And now what rests but, in night's coverture, Thy brother being carelessly encamp'd, His soldiers lurking in the towns about, And but attended by a simple guard, We may surprise and take him at our pleasure? Our scouts have found the adventure very easy: That as Ulysses and stout Diomede With sleight and manhood stole to Rhesus' tents, And brought from thence the Thracian fatal steeds, So we, well cover'd with the night's black mantle, At unawares may beat down Edward's guard And seize himself; I say not, slaughter him, For I intend but only to surprise him. You that will follow me to this attempt, Applaud the name of Henry with your leader.
[Enter three Watchmen, to guard KING EDWARD IV's tent]
SCENE III Edward's camp, near Warwick.
First Watchman Come on, my masters, each man take his stand: The king by this is set him down to sleep.
Second Watchman What, will he not to bed?
First Watchman Why, no; for he hath made a solemn vow Never to lie and take his natural rest Till Warwick or himself be quite suppress'd.
Second Watchman To-morrow then belike shall be the day, If Warwick be so near as men report.
Third Watchman But say, I pray, what nobleman is that That with the king here resteth in his tent?
First Watchman 'Tis the Lord Hastings, the king's chiefest friend.
Third Watchman O, is it so? But why commands the king That his chief followers lodge in towns about him, While he himself keeps in the cold field?
Second Watchman 'Tis the more honour, because more dangerous.
Third Watchman Ay, but give me worship and quietness; I like it better than a dangerous honour. If Warwick knew in what estate he stands, 'Tis to be doubted he would waken him.
[Enter WARWICK, CLARENCE, OXFORD, SOMERSET, and French soldiers, silent all]
First Watchman Unless our halberds did shut up his passage.
Second Watchman Ay, wherefore else guard we his royal tent, But to defend his person from night-foes?
WARWICK This is his tent; and see where stand his guard. Courage, my masters! honour now or never! But follow me, and Edward shall be ours.
[WARWICK and the rest cry all,
and set upon the Guard, who fly, crying,
arm! WARWICK and the rest following them]
[The drum playing and trumpet sounding, reenter WARWICK, SOMERSET, and the rest, bringing KING EDWARD IV out in his gown, sitting in a chair. RICHARD and HASTINGS fly over the stage]
First Watchman Who goes there?
Second Watchman Stay, or thou diest!
SOMERSET What are they that fly there?
WARWICK Richard and Hastings: let them go; here is The duke.
KING EDWARD IV The duke! Why, Warwick, when we parted, Thou call'dst me king.
WARWICK Ay, but the case is alter'd: When you disgraced me in my embassade, Then I degraded you from being king, And come now to create you Duke of York. Alas! how should you govern any kingdom, That know not how to use ambassadors, Nor how to be contented with one wife, Nor how to use your brothers brotherly, Nor how to study for the people's welfare, Nor how to shroud yourself from enemies?
[Takes off his crown]
But Henry now shall wear the English crown, And be true king indeed, thou but the shadow. My Lord of Somerset, at my request, See that forthwith Duke Edward be convey'd Unto my brother, Archbishop of York. When I have fought with Pembroke and his fellows, I'll follow you, and tell what answer Lewis and the Lady Bona send to him. Now, for a while farewell, good Duke of York.
[They lead him out forcibly]
KING EDWARD IV Yea, brother of Clarence, are thou here too? Nay, then I see that Edward needs must down. Yet, Warwick, in despite of all mischance, Of thee thyself and all thy complices, Edward will always bear himself as king: Though fortune's malice overthrow my state, My mind exceeds the compass of her wheel.
WARWICK Then, for his mind, be Edward England's king:
KING EDWARD IV What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide.
- KING HENRY VI
OXFORD What now remains, my lords, for us to do But march to London with our soldiers?
WARWICK Ay, that's the first thing that we have to do; To free King Henry from imprisonment And see him seated in the regal throne.
[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and RIVERS]
SCENE IV London. The palace.
RIVERS Madam, what makes you in this sudden change?
QUEEN ELIZABETH Why brother Rivers, are you yet to learn What late misfortune is befall'n King Edward?
RIVERS What! loss of some pitch'd battle against Warwick?
QUEEN ELIZABETH No, but the loss of his own royal person.
RIVERS Then is my sovereign slain?
QUEEN ELIZABETH Ay, almost slain, for he is taken prisoner, Either betray'd by falsehood of his guard Or by his foe surprised at unawares: And, as I further have to understand, Is new committed to the Bishop of York, Fell Warwick's brother and by that our foe.
RIVERS These news I must confess are full of grief; Yet, gracious madam, bear it as you may: Warwick may lose, that now hath won the day.
QUEEN ELIZABETH Till then fair hope must hinder life's decay. And I the rather wean me from despair For love of Edward's offspring in my womb: This is it that makes me bridle passion And bear with mildness my misfortune's cross; Ay, ay, for this I draw in many a tear And stop the rising of blood-sucking sighs, Lest with my sighs or tears I blast or drown King Edward's fruit, true heir to the English crown.
- KING HENRY VI
RIVERS But, madam, where is Warwick then become?
QUEEN ELIZABETH I am inform'd that he comes towards London, To set the crown once more on Henry's head: Guess thou the rest; King Edward's friends must down, But, to prevent the tyrant's violence,-- For trust not him that hath once broken faith,-- I'll hence forthwith unto the sanctuary, To save at least the heir of Edward's right: There shall I rest secure from force and fraud. Come, therefore, let us fly while we may fly: If Warwick take us we are sure to die.
[Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and STANLEY]
[Enter KING EDWARD IV and a Huntsman with him]
SCENE V A park near Middleham Castle In Yorkshire.
GLOUCESTER Now, my Lord Hastings and Sir William Stanley, Leave off to wonder why I drew you hither, Into this chiefest thicket of the park. Thus stands the case: you know our king, my brother, Is prisoner to the bishop here, at whose hands He hath good usage and great liberty, And, often but attended with weak guard, Comes hunting this way to disport himself. I have advertised him by secret means That if about this hour he make his way Under the colour of his usual game, He shall here find his friends with horse and men To set him free from his captivity.
Huntsman This way, my lord; for this way lies the game.
KING EDWARD IV Nay, this way, man: see where the huntsmen stand. Now, brother of Gloucester, Lord Hastings, and the rest, Stand you thus close, to steal the bishop's deer?
GLOUCESTER Brother, the time and case requireth haste: Your horse stands ready at the park-corner.
KING EDWARD IV But whither shall we then?
HASTINGS To Lynn, my lord, And ship from thence to Flanders.
GLOUCESTER Well guess'd, believe me; for that was my meaning.
KING EDWARD IV Stanley, I will requite thy forwardness.
GLOUCESTER But wherefore stay we? 'tis no time to talk.
KING EDWARD IV Huntsman, what say'st thou? wilt thou go along?
Huntsman Better do so than tarry and be hang'd.
- KING HENRY VI
GLOUCESTER Come then, away; let's ha' no more ado.
KING EDWARD IV Bishop, farewell: shield thee from Warwick's frown; And pray that I may repossess the crown.
[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, CLARENCE, WARWICK, SOMERSET, HENRY OF RICHMOND, OXFORD, MONTAGUE, and Lieutenant of the Tower]
SCENE VI London. The Tower.
KING HENRY VI Master lieutenant, now that God and friends Have shaken Edward from the regal seat, And turn'd my captive state to liberty, My fear to hope, my sorrows unto joys, At our enlargement what are thy due fees?
Lieutenant Subjects may challenge nothing of their sovereigns; But if an humble prayer may prevail, I then crave pardon of your majesty.
KING HENRY VI For what, lieutenant? for well using me? Nay, be thou sure I'll well requite thy kindness, For that it made my imprisonment a pleasure; Ay, such a pleasure as incaged birds Conceive when after many moody thoughts At last by notes of household harmony They quite forget their loss of liberty. But, Warwick, after God, thou set'st me free, And chiefly therefore I thank God and thee; He was the author, thou the instrument. Therefore, that I may conquer fortune's spite By living low, where fortune cannot hurt me, And that the people of this blessed land May not be punish'd with my thwarting stars, Warwick, although my head still wear the crown, I here resign my government to thee, For thou art fortunate in all thy deeds.
WARWICK Your grace hath still been famed for virtuous; And now may seem as wise as virtuous, By spying and avoiding fortune's malice, For few men rightly temper with the stars: Yet in this one thing let me blame your grace, For choosing me when Clarence is in place.
CLARENCE No, Warwick, thou art worthy of the sway, To whom the heavens in thy nativity Adjudged an olive branch and laurel crown, As likely to be blest in peace and war; And therefore I yield thee my free consent.
WARWICK And I choose Clarence only for protector.
KING HENRY VI Warwick and Clarence give me both your hands: Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts, That no dissension hinder government: I make you both protectors of this land, While I myself will lead a private life And in devotion spend my latter days, To sin's rebuke and my Creator's praise.
WARWICK What answers Clarence to his sovereign's will?
CLARENCE That he consents, if Warwick yield consent; For on thy fortune I repose myself.
WARWICK Why, then, though loath, yet must I be content: We'll yoke together, like a double shadow To Henry's body, and supply his place; I mean, in bearing weight of government, While he enjoys the honour and his ease. And, Clarence, now then it is more than needful Forthwith that Edward be pronounced a traitor, And all his lands and goods be confiscate.
CLARENCE What else? and that succession be determined.
WARWICK Ay, therein Clarence shall not want his part.
KING HENRY VI But, with the first of all your chief affairs, Let me entreat, for I command no more, That Margaret your queen and my son Edward Be sent for, to return from France with speed; For, till I see them here, by doubtful fear My joy of liberty is half eclipsed.
CLARENCE It shall be done, my sovereign, with all speed.
KING HENRY VI My Lord of Somerset, what youth is that, Of whom you seem to have so tender care?
[Lays his hand on his head]
If secret powers Suggest but truth to my divining thoughts, This pretty lad will prove our country's bliss. His looks are full of peaceful majesty, His head by nature framed to wear a crown, His hand to wield a sceptre, and himself Likely in time to bless a regal throne. Make much of him, my lords, for this is he Must help you more than you are hurt by me.
[Enter a Post]
SOMERSET My liege, it is young Henry, earl of Richmond.
KING HENRY VI Come hither, England's hope.
WARWICK What news, my friend?
Post That Edward is escaped from your brother, And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.
WARWICK Unsavoury news! but how made he escape?
[Exeunt all but SOMERSET, HENRY OF RICHMOND, and OXFORD]
Post He was convey'd by Richard Duke of Gloucester And the Lord Hastings, who attended him In secret ambush on the forest side And from the bishop's huntsmen rescued him; For hunting was his daily exercise.
WARWICK My brother was too careless of his charge. But let us hence, my sovereign, to provide A salve for any sore that may betide.
SOMERSET My lord, I like not of this flight of Edward's; For doubtless Burgundy will yield him help, And we shall have more wars before 't be long. As Henry's late presaging prophecy Did glad my heart with hope of this young Richmond, So doth my heart misgive me, in these conflicts What may befall him, to his harm and ours: Therefore, Lord Oxford, to prevent the worst, Forthwith we'll send him hence to Brittany, Till storms be past of civil enmity.
- KING HENRY VI
OXFORD Ay, for if Edward repossess the crown, 'Tis like that Richmond with the rest shall down.
SOMERSET It shall be so; he shall to Brittany. Come, therefore, let's about it speedily.
[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and Soldiers]
SCENE VII Before York.
KING EDWARD IV Now, brother Richard, Lord Hastings, and the rest, Yet thus far fortune maketh us amends, And says that once more I shall interchange My waned state for Henry's regal crown. Well have we pass'd and now repass'd the seas And brought desired help from Burgundy: What then remains, we being thus arrived From Ravenspurgh haven before the gates of York, But that we enter, as into our dukedom?
GLOUCESTER The gates made fast! Brother, I like not this; For many men that stumble at the threshold Are well foretold that danger lurks within.
[Enter, on the walls, the Mayor of York, and his Brethren]
KING EDWARD IV Tush, man, abodements must not now affright us: By fair or foul means we must enter in, For hither will our friends repair to us.
HASTINGS My liege, I'll knock once more to summon them.
Mayor My lords, we were forewarned of your coming, And shut the gates for safety of ourselves; For now we owe allegiance unto Henry.
KING EDWARD IV But, master mayor, if Henry be your king, Yet Edward at the least is Duke of York.
Mayor True, my good lord; I know you for no less.
KING EDWARD IV Why, and I challenge nothing but my dukedom, As being well content with that alone.
GLOUCESTER [Aside] But when the fox hath once got in his nose, He'll soon find means to make the body follow.
HASTINGS Why, master mayor, why stand you in a doubt? Open the gates; we are King Henry's friends.
Mayor Ay, say you so? the gates shall then be open'd.
[Enter the Mayor and two Aldermen, below]
GLOUCESTER A wise stout captain, and soon persuaded!
[Takes his keys]
For Edward will defend the town and thee, And all those friends that deign to follow me.
[March. Enter MONTGOMERY, with drum and soldiers]
HASTINGS The good old man would fain that all were well, So 'twere not 'long of him; but being enter'd, I doubt not, I, but we shall soon persuade Both him and all his brothers unto reason.
KING EDWARD IV So, master mayor: these gates must not be shut But in the night or in the time of war. What! fear not, man, but yield me up the keys;
GLOUCESTER Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery, Our trusty friend, unless I be deceived.
KING EDWARD IV Welcome, Sir John! But why come you in arms?
MONTAGUE To help King Edward in his time of storm, As every loyal subject ought to do.
[The drum begins to march]
KING EDWARD IV Thanks, good Montgomery; but we now forget Our title to the crown and only claim Our dukedom till God please to send the rest.
MONTAGUE Then fare you well, for I will hence again: I came to serve a king and not a duke. Drummer, strike up, and let us march away.
KING EDWARD IV Nay, stay, Sir John, awhile, and we'll debate By what safe means the crown may be recover'd.
MONTAGUE What talk you of debating? in few words, If you'll not here proclaim yourself our king, I'll leave you to your fortune and be gone To keep them back that come to succor you: Why shall we fight, if you pretend no title?
GLOUCESTER Why, brother, wherefore stand you on nice points?
KING EDWARD IV When we grow stronger, then we'll make our claim: Till then, 'tis wisdom to conceal our meaning.
HASTINGS Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule.
GLOUCESTER And fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns. Brother, we will proclaim you out of hand: The bruit thereof will bring you many friends.
KING EDWARD IV Then be it as you will; for 'tis my right, And Henry but usurps the diadem.
MONTAGUE Ay, now my sovereign speaketh like himself; And now will I be Edward's champion.
HASTINGS Sound trumpet; Edward shall be here proclaim'd: Come, fellow-soldier, make thou proclamation.
[Throws down his gauntlet]
Soldier Edward the Fourth, by the grace of God, king of England and France, and lord of Ireland, &c.
MONTAGUE And whosoe'er gainsays King Edward's right, By this I challenge him to single fight.
- KING HENRY VI
All Long live Edward the Fourth!
KING EDWARD IV Thanks, brave Montgomery; and thanks unto you all: If fortune serve me, I'll requite this kindness. Now, for this night, let's harbour here in York; And when the morning sun shall raise his car Above the border of this horizon, We'll forward towards Warwick and his mates; For well I wot that Henry is no soldier. Ah, froward Clarence! how evil it beseems thee To flatter Henry and forsake thy brother! Yet, as we may, we'll meet both thee and Warwick. Come on, brave soldiers: doubt not of the day, And, that once gotten, doubt not of large pay.
[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, WARWICK, MONTAGUE, CLARENCE, EXETER, and OXFORD]
SCENE VIII London. The palace.
WARWICK What counsel, lords? Edward from Belgia, With hasty Germans and blunt Hollanders, Hath pass'd in safety through the narrow seas, And with his troops doth march amain to London; And many giddy people flock to him.
KING HENRY VI Let's levy men, and beat him back again.
CLARENCE A little fire is quickly trodden out; Which, being suffer'd, rivers cannot quench.
WARWICK In Warwickshire I have true-hearted friends, Not mutinous in peace, yet bold in war; Those will I muster up: and thou, son Clarence, Shalt stir up in Suffolk, Norfolk, and in Kent, The knights and gentlemen to come with thee: Thou, brother Montague, in Buckingham, Northampton and in Leicestershire, shalt find Men well inclined to hear what thou command'st: And thou, brave Oxford, wondrous well beloved, In Oxfordshire shalt muster up thy friends. My sovereign, with the loving citizens, Like to his island girt in with the ocean, Or modest Dian circled with her nymphs, Shall rest in London till we come to him. Fair lords, take leave and stand not to reply. Farewell, my sovereign.
KING HENRY VI Farewell, my Hector, and my Troy's true hope.
CLARENCE In sign of truth, I kiss your highness' hand.
KING HENRY VI Well-minded Clarence, be thou fortunate!
MONTAGUE Comfort, my lord; and so I take my leave.
OXFORD And thus I seal my truth, and bid adieu.
[Exeunt all but KING HENRY VI and EXETER]
KING HENRY VI Sweet Oxford, and my loving Montague, And all at once, once more a happy farewell.
WARWICK Farewell, sweet lords: let's meet at Coventry.
KING HENRY VI Here at the palace I will rest awhile. Cousin of Exeter, what thinks your lordship? Methinks the power that Edward hath in field Should not be able to encounter mine.
[Shout within. 'A Lancaster! A Lancaster!']
EXETER The doubt is that he will seduce the rest.
[Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers]
KING HENRY VI That's not my fear; my meed hath got me fame: I have not stopp'd mine ears to their demands, Nor posted off their suits with slow delays; My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds, My mildness hath allay'd their swelling griefs, My mercy dried their water-flowing tears; I have not been desirous of their wealth, Nor much oppress'd them with great subsidies. Nor forward of revenge, though they much err'd: Then why should they love Edward more than me? No, Exeter, these graces challenge grace: And when the lion fawns upon the lamb, The lamb will never cease to follow him.
[Exeunt some with KING HENRY VI]
And, lords, towards Coventry bend we our course Where peremptory Warwick now remains: The sun shines hot; and, if we use delay, Cold biting winter mars our hoped-for hay.
EXETER Hark, hark, my lord! what shouts are these?
- KING HENRY VI
KING EDWARD IV Seize on the shame-faced Henry, bear him hence; And once again proclaim us King of England. You are the fount that makes small brooks to flow: Now stops thy spring; my sea sha$l suck them dry, And swell so much the higher by their ebb. Hence with him to the Tower; let him not speak.
GLOUCESTER Away betimes, before his forces join, And take the great-grown traitor unawares: Brave warriors, march amain towards Coventry.
[Enter WARWICK, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers, and others upon the walls]
SCENE I Coventry.
WARWICK Where is the post that came from valiant Oxford? How far hence is thy lord, mine honest fellow?
First Messenger By this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward.
[Enter SIR JOHN SOMERVILLE]
WARWICK How far off is our brother Montague? Where is the post that came from Montague?
Second Messenger By this at Daintry, with a puissant troop.
WARWICK Say, Somerville, what says my loving son? And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?
SOMERSET At Southam I did leave him with his forces, And do expect him here some two hours hence.
WARWICK Then Clarence is at hand, I hear his drum.
SOMERSET It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies: The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.
[March: flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers]
WARWICK Who should that be? belike, unlook'd-for friends.
SOMERSET They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.
KING EDWARD IV Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.
GLOUCESTER See how the surly Warwick mans the wall!
WARWICK O unbid spite! is sportful Edward come? Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced, That we could hear no news of his repair?
KING EDWARD IV Now, Warwick, wilt thou ope the city gates, Speak gentle words and humbly bend thy knee, Call Edward king and at his hands beg mercy? And he shall pardon thee these outrages.
WARWICK Nay, rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence, Confess who set thee up and pluck'd thee own, Call Warwick patron and be penitent? And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.
GLOUCESTER I thought, at least, he would have said the king; Or did he make the jest against his will?
WARWICK Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?
GLOUCESTER Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give: I'll do thee service for so good a gift.
WARWICK 'Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother.
KING EDWARD IV Why then 'tis mine, if but by Warwick's gift.
WARWICK Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight: And weakling, Warwick takes his gift again; And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.
KING EDWARD IV But Warwick's king is Edward's prisoner: And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this: What is the body when the head is off?
GLOUCESTER Alas, that Warwick had no more forecast, But, whiles he thought to steal the single ten, The king was slily finger'd from the deck! You left poor Henry at the Bishop's palace, And, ten to one, you'll meet him in the Tower.
EDWARD 'Tis even so; yet you are Warwick still.
GLOUCESTER Come, Warwick, take the time; kneel down, kneel down: Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools.
[Enter OXFORD, with drum and colours]
WARWICK I had rather chop this hand off at a blow, And with the other fling it at thy face, Than bear so low a sail, to strike to thee.
KING EDWARD IV Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,
This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair
Shall, whiles thy head is warm and new cut off,
Write in the dust this sentence with thy blood,
Wind-changing Warwick now can change no more.
[He and his forces enter the city]
WARWICK O cheerful colours! see where Oxford comes!
OXFORD Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!
GLOUCESTER The gates are open, let us enter too.
[Enter MONTAGUE with drum and colours]
KING EDWARD IV So other foes may set upon our backs. Stand we in good array; for they no doubt Will issue out again and bid us battle: If not, the city being but of small defence, We'll quickly rouse the traitors in the same.
[He and his forces enter the city]
WARWICK O, welcome, Oxford! for we want thy help.
MONTAGUE Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!
[Enter SOMERSET, with drum and colours]
GLOUCESTER Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.
[He and his forces enter the city]
KING EDWARD IV The harder match'd, the greater victory: My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.
[Enter CLARENCE, with drum and colours]
SOMERSET Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!
GLOUCESTER Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset, Have sold their lives unto the house of York; And thou shalt be the third if this sword hold.
[Taking his red rose out of his hat]
Look here, I throw my infamy at thee I will not ruinate my father's house, Who gave his blood to lime the stones together, And set up Lancaster. Why, trow'st thou, Warwick, That Clarence is so harsh, so blunt, unnatural, To bend the fatal instruments of war Against his brother and his lawful king? Perhaps thou wilt object my holy oath: To keep that oath were more impiety Than Jephthah's, when he sacrificed his daughter. I am so sorry for my trespass made That, to deserve well at my brother's hands, I here proclaim myself thy mortal foe, With resolution, wheresoe'er I meet thee-- As I will meet thee, if thou stir abroad-- To plague thee for thy foul misleading me. And so, proud-hearted Warwick, I defy thee, And to my brother turn my blushing cheeks. Pardon me, Edward, I will make amends: And, Richard, do not frown upon my faults, For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.
WARWICK And lo, where George of Clarence sweeps along, Of force enough to bid his brother battle; With whom an upright zeal to right prevails More than the nature of a brother's love! Come, Clarence, come; thou wilt, if Warwick call.
CLARENCE Father of Warwick, know you what this means?
KING EDWARD IV Now welcome more, and ten times more beloved, Than if thou never hadst deserved our hate.
GLOUCESTER Welcome, good Clarence; this is brotherlike.
WARWICK O passing traitor, perjured and unjust!
KING EDWARD IV What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight? Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?
[Exeunt King Edward and his company. March. Warwick and his company follow]
- KING HENRY VI
WARWICK Alas, I am not coop'd here for defence! I will away towards Barnet presently, And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou darest.
KING EDWARD IV Yes, Warwick, Edward dares, and leads the way. Lords, to the field; Saint George and victory!
[Alarum and excursions. Enter KING EDWARD IV, bringing forth WARWICK wounded]
SCENE II A field of battle near Barnet.
[Enter OXFORD and SOMERSET]
KING EDWARD IV So, lie thou there: die thou, and die our fear; For Warwick was a bug that fear'd us all. Now, Montague, sit fast; I seek for thee, That Warwick's bones may keep thine company.
WARWICK Ah, who is nigh? come to me, friend or foe, And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick? Why ask I that? my mangled body shows, My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shows. That I must yield my body to the earth And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe. Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge, Whose arms gave shelter to the princely eagle, Under whose shade the ramping lion slept, Whose top-branch overpeer'd Jove's spreading tree And kept low shrubs from winter's powerful wind. These eyes, that now are dimm'd with death's black veil, Have been as piercing as the mid-day sun, To search the secret treasons of the world: The wrinkles in my brows, now filled with blood, Were liken'd oft to kingly sepulchres; For who lived king, but I could dig his grave? And who durst mine when Warwick bent his brow? Lo, now my glory smear'd in dust and blood! My parks, my walks, my manors that I had. Even now forsake me, and of all my lands Is nothing left me but my body's length. Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust? And, live we how we can, yet die we must.
SOMERSET Ah, Warwick, Warwick! wert thou as we are. We might recover all our loss again; The queen from France hath brought a puissant power: Even now we heard the news: ah, could'st thou fly!
WARWICK Why, then I would not fly. Ah, Montague, If thou be there, sweet brother, take my hand. And with thy lips keep in my soul awhile! Thou lovest me not; for, brother, if thou didst, Thy tears would wash this cold congealed blood That glues my lips and will not let me speak. Come quickly, Montague, or I am dead.
SOMERSET Ah, Warwick! Montague hath breathed his last;
And to the latest gasp cried out for Warwick,
Commend me to my valiant brother.
And more he would have said, and more he spoke,
Which sounded like a clamour in a vault,
That mought not be distinguished; but at last
I well might hear, delivered with a groan,
O, farewell, Warwick!
[Here they bear away his body. Exeunt]
- KING HENRY VI
WARWICK Sweet rest his soul! Fly, lords, and save yourselves; For Warwick bids you all farewell to meet in heaven.
OXFORD Away, away, to meet the queen's great power!
[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV in triumph; with GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and the rest]
SCENE III Another part of the field.
KING EDWARD IV Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course, And we are graced with wreaths of victory. But, in the midst of this bright-shining day, I spy a black, suspicious, threatening cloud, That will encounter with our glorious sun, Ere he attain his easeful western bed: I mean, my lords, those powers that the queen Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.
CLARENCE A little gale will soon disperse that cloud And blow it to the source from whence it came: The very beams will dry those vapours up, For every cloud engenders not a storm.
- KING HENRY VI
GLOUCESTER The queen is valued thirty thousand strong, And Somerset, with Oxford fled to her: If she have time to breathe be well assured Her faction will be full as strong as ours.
KING EDWARD IV We are advertised by our loving friends
That they do hold their course toward Tewksbury:
We, having now the best at Barnet field,
Will thither straight, for willingness rids way;
And, as we march, our strength will be augmented
In every county as we go along.
Strike up the drum; cry
Courage! and away.
[March. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD, SOMERSET, OXFORD, and soldiers]
SCENE IV Plains near Tewksbury.
QUEEN MARGARET Great lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss, But cheerly seek how to redress their harms. What though the mast be now blown overboard, The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost, And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood? Yet lives our pilot still. Is't meet that he Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad With tearful eyes add water to the sea And give more strength to that which hath too much, Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock, Which industry and courage might have saved? Ah, what a shame! ah, what a fault were this! Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that? And Montague our topmost; what of him? Our slaughter'd friends the tackles; what of these? Why, is not Oxford here another anchor? And Somerset another goodly mast? The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings? And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I For once allow'd the skilful pilot's charge? We will not from the helm to sit and weep, But keep our course, though the rough wind say no, From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck. As good to chide the waves as speak them fair. And what is Edward but ruthless sea? What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit? And Richard but a ragged fatal rock? All these the enemies to our poor bark. Say you can swim; alas, 'tis but a while! Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink: Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off, Or else you famish; that's a threefold death. This speak I, lords, to let you understand, If case some one of you would fly from us, That there's no hoped-for mercy with the brothers More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks. Why, courage then! what cannot be avoided 'Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
PRINCE EDWARD Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit Should, if a coward heard her speak these words, Infuse his breast with magnanimity And make him, naked, foil a man at arms. I speak not this as doubting any here For did I but suspect a fearful man He should have leave to go away betimes, Lest in our need he might infect another And make him of like spirit to himself. If any such be here--as God forbid!-- Let him depart before we need his help.
OXFORD Women and children of so high a courage, And warriors faint! why, 'twere perpetual shame. O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live To bear his image and renew his glories!
SOMERSET And he that will not fight for such a hope. Go home to bed, and like the owl by day, If he arise, be mock'd and wonder'd at.
[Enter a Messenger]
QUEEN MARGARET Thanks, gentle Somerset; sweet Oxford, thanks.
PRINCE EDWARD And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.
Messenger Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand. Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
OXFORD I thought no less: it is his policy To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
SOMERSET But he's deceived; we are in readiness.
[Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and soldiers]
QUEEN MARGARET This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.
OXFORD Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.
[Alarum. Retreat. Excursions. Exeunt]
- KING HENRY VI
KING EDWARD IV Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood, Which, by the heavens' assistance and your strength, Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night. I need not add more fuel to your fire, For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!
QUEEN MARGARET Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say My tears gainsay; for every word I speak, Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes. Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your sovereign, Is prisoner to the foe; his state usurp'd, His realm a slaughter-house, his subjects slain, His statutes cancell'd and his treasure spent; And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil. You fight in justice: then, in God's name, lords, Be valiant and give signal to the fight.
[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and soldiers; with QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and SOMERSET, prisoners]
SCENE V Another part of the field.
KING EDWARD IV Now here a period of tumultuous broils. Away with Oxford to Hames Castle straight: For Somerset, off with his guilty head. Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.
[Exeunt Oxford and Somerset, guarded]
OXFORD For my part, I'll not trouble thee with words.
SOMERSET Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.
QUEEN MARGARET So part we sadly in this troublous world, To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.
[Enter soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD]
KING EDWARD IV Is proclamation made, that who finds Edward Shall have a high reward, and he his life?
GLOUCESTER It is: and lo, where youthful Edward comes!
KING EDWARD IV Bring forth the gallant, let us hear him speak. What! can so young a thorn begin to prick? Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects, And all the trouble thou hast turn'd me to?
PRINCE EDWARD Speak like a subject, proud ambitious York! Suppose that I am now my father's mouth; Resign thy chair, and where I stand kneel thou, Whilst I propose the selfsame words to thee, Which traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.
QUEEN MARGARET Ah, that thy father had been so resolved!
GLOUCESTER That you might still have worn the petticoat, And ne'er have stol'n the breech from Lancaster.
PRINCE EDWARD Let AEsop fable in a winter's night; His currish riddles sort not with this place.
GLOUCESTER By heaven, brat, I'll plague ye for that word.
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.
GLOUCESTER For God's sake, take away this captive scold.
PRINCE EDWARD Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather.
KING EDWARD IV Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.
CLARENCE Untutor'd lad, thou art too malapert.
PRINCE EDWARD I know my duty; you are all undutiful: Lascivious Edward, and thou perjured George, And thou mis-shapen Dick, I tell ye all I am your better, traitors as ye are: And thou usurp'st my father's right and mine.
KING EDWARD IV Take that, thou likeness of this railer here.
GLOUCESTER Sprawl'st thou? take that, to end thy agony.
CLARENCE And there's for twitting me with perjury.
[Offers to kill her]
QUEEN MARGARET O, kill me too!
GLOUCESTER Marry, and shall.
KING EDWARD IV Hold, Richard, hold; for we have done too much.
GLOUCESTER Why should she live, to fill the world with words?
KING EDWARD IV What, doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.
GLOUCESTER Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother; I'll hence to London on a serious matter: Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.
CLARENCE What? what?
GLOUCESTER The Tower, the Tower.
QUEEN MARGARET O Ned, sweet Ned! speak to thy mother, boy! Canst thou not speak? O traitors! murderers! They that stabb'd Caesar shed no blood at all, Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame, If this foul deed were by to equal it: He was a man; this, in respect, a child: And men ne'er spend their fury on a child. What's worse than murderer, that I may name it? No, no, my heart will burst, and if I speak: And I will speak, that so my heart may burst. Butchers and villains! bloody cannibals! How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp'd! You have no children, butchers! if you had, The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse: But if you ever chance to have a child, Look in his youth to have him so cut off As, deathmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!
KING EDWARD IV Away with her; go, bear her hence perforce.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, never bear me hence, dispatch me here, Here sheathe thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death: What, wilt thou not? then, Clarence, do it thou.
CLARENCE By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.
QUEEN MARGARET Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it.
CLARENCE Didst thou not hear me swear I would not do it?
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself: 'Twas sin before, but now 'tis charity. What, wilt thou not? Where is that devil's butcher, Hard-favour'd Richard? Richard, where art thou? Thou art not here: murder is thy alms-deed; Petitioners for blood thou ne'er put'st back.
[Exit, led out forcibly]
KING EDWARD IV Away, I say; I charge ye, bear her hence.
QUEEN MARGARET So come to you and yours, as to this Prince!
KING EDWARD IV Where's Richard gone?
- KING HENRY VI
CLARENCE To London, all in post; and, as I guess, To make a bloody supper in the Tower.
KING EDWARD IV He's sudden, if a thing comes in his head. Now march we hence: discharge the common sort With pay and thanks, and let's away to London And see our gentle queen how well she fares: By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.
[Enter KING HENRY VI and GLOUCESTER, with the Lieutenant, on the walls]
SCENE VI London. The Tower.
GLOUCESTER Good day, my lord. What, at your book so hard?
KING HENRY VI Ay, my good lord:--my lord, I should say rather;
'Tis sin to flatter;
good was little better:
Good Gloucester and
good devil were alike,
And both preposterous; therefore, not
GLOUCESTER Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer.
KING HENRY VI So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf; So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece And next his throat unto the butcher's knife. What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?
GLOUCESTER Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
KING HENRY VI The bird that hath been limed in a bush, With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush; And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird, Have now the fatal object in my eye Where my poor young was limed, was caught and kill'd.
GLOUCESTER Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete, That taught his son the office of a fowl! An yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown'd.
KING HENRY VI I, Daedalus; my poor boy, Icarus; Thy father, Minos, that denied our course; The sun that sear'd the wings of my sweet boy Thy brother Edward, and thyself the sea Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life. Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words! My breast can better brook thy dagger's point Than can my ears that tragic history. But wherefore dost thou come? is't for my life?
GLOUCESTER Think'st thou I am an executioner?
KING HENRY VI A persecutor, I am sure, thou art: If murdering innocents be executing, Why, then thou art an executioner.
GLOUCESTER Thy son I kill'd for his presumption.
For this amongst the rest, was I ordain'd.
KING HENRY VI Hadst thou been kill'd when first thou didst presume, Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine. And thus I prophesy, that many a thousand, Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear, And many an old man's sigh and many a widow's, And many an orphan's water-standing eye-- Men for their sons, wives for their husbands, And orphans for their parents timeless death-- Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born. The owl shriek'd at thy birth,--an evil sign; The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time; Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempest shook down trees; The raven rook'd her on the chimney's top, And chattering pies in dismal discords sung. Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain, And, yet brought forth less than a mother's hope, To wit, an indigested and deformed lump, Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree. Teeth hadst thou in thy head when thou wast born, To signify thou camest to bite the world: And, if the rest be true which I have heard, Thou camest--
GLOUCESTER I'll hear no more: die, prophet in thy speech:
[Stabs him again]
I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear.
Indeed, 'tis true that Henry told me of;
For I have often heard my mother say
I came into the world with my legs forward:
Had I not reason, think ye, to make haste,
And seek their ruin that usurp'd our right?
The midwife wonder'd and the women cried
O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!
And so I was; which plainly signified
That I should snarl and bite and play the dog.
Then, since the heavens have shaped my body so,
Let hell make crook'd my mind to answer it.
I have no brother, I am like no brother;
And this word
love, which graybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another
And not in me: I am myself alone.
Clarence, beware; thou keep'st me from the light:
But I will sort a pitchy day for thee;
For I will buz abroad such prophecies
That Edward shall be fearful of his life,
And then, to purge his fear, I'll be thy death.
King Henry and the prince his son are gone:
Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest,
Counting myself but bad till I be best.
I'll throw thy body in another room
And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.
[Exit, with the body]
- KING HENRY VI
KING HENRY VI Ay, and for much more slaughter after this. God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!
GLOUCESTER What, will the aspiring blood of Lancaster Sink in the ground? I thought it would have mounted. See how my sword weeps for the poor king's death! O, may such purple tears be alway shed From those that wish the downfall of our house! If any spark of life be yet remaining, Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither:
[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, QUEEN ELIZABETH, CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, a Nurse with the young Prince, and Attendants]
SCENE VII London. The palace.
KING EDWARD IV Once more we sit in England's royal throne, Re-purchased with the blood of enemies. What valiant foemen, like to autumn's corn, Have we mow'd down, in tops of all their pride! Three Dukes of Somerset, threefold renown'd For hardy and undoubted champions; Two Cliffords, as the father and the son, And two Northumberlands; two braver men Ne'er spurr'd their coursers at the trumpet's sound; With them, the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague, That in their chains fetter'd the kingly lion And made the forest tremble when they roar'd. Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat And made our footstool of security. Come hither, Bess, and let me kiss my boy. Young Ned, for thee, thine uncles and myself Have in our armours watch'd the winter's night, Went all afoot in summer's scalding heat, That thou mightst repossess the crown in peace; And of our labours thou shalt reap the gain.
GLOUCESTER [Aside] I'll blast his harvest, if your head were laid; For yet I am not look'd on in the world. This shoulder was ordain'd so thick to heave; And heave it shall some weight, or break my back: Work thou the way,--and thou shalt execute.
KING EDWARD IV Clarence and Gloucester, love my lovely queen; And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both.
CLARENCE The duty that I owe unto your majesty I seal upon the lips of this sweet babe.
QUEEN ELIZABETH Thanks, noble Clarence; worthy brother, thanks.
GLOUCESTER And, that I love the tree from whence thou sprang'st,
Witness the loving kiss I give the fruit.
[Aside] To say the truth, so Judas kiss'd his master,
all hail! when as he meant all harm.
KING EDWARD IV Now am I seated as my soul delights, Having my country's peace and brothers' loves.
CLARENCE What will your grace have done with Margaret? Reignier, her father, to the king of France Hath pawn'd the Sicils and Jerusalem, And hither have they sent it for her ransom.
KING EDWARD IV Away with her, and waft her hence to France. And now what rests but that we spend the time With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows, Such as befits the pleasure of the court? Sound drums and trumpets! farewell sour annoy! For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy.