King Henry VI, Third Part
by William Shakespeare [Rolfe edition]
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Speak suddenly, my lords, are we all friends?

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.

[They all cry, 'Henry!']

Why then, let's on our way in silent sort; For Warwick and his friends, God and Saint George!


SCENE III. Edward's Camp near Warwick.

[Enter certain Watchmen, to guard the KING'S tent.]

1 WATCHMAN. Come on, my masters, each man take his stand; The king by this is set him down to sleep.

2 WATCHMAN. What, will he not to bed?

1 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.

2 WATCHMAN. To-morrow, then, belike shall be the day, If Warwick be so near as men report.

3 WATCHMAN. But say, I pray, what nobleman is that That with the king here resteth in his tent?

1 WATCHMAN. 'T is the Lord Hastings, the king's chiefest friend.

3 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?

2 WATCHMAN. 'T is the more honour, because more dangerous.

3 WATCHMAN. Ay, but give me worship and quietness; I like it better than dangerous honour. If Warwick knew in what estate he stands, 'T is to be doubted he would waken him.

1 WATCHMAN. Unless our halberds did shut up his passage.

2 WATCHMAN. Ay; wherefore else guard we his royal tent But to defend his person from night-foes?

[Enter WARWICK, CLARENCE, OXFORD, SOMERSET, and Forces silently.]

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.

1 WATCHMAN. Who goes there?

2 WATCHMAN. Stay, or thou diest.

[Warwick and the rest cry all, 'Warwick! Warwick!' and set upon the guard, who fly, crying 'Arm! Arm!' Warwick and the rest following them.]

[Drum beating and trumpet sounding; enter WARWICK and the rest, bringing the KING out in his gown sitting in a chair. GLOSTER and HASTINGS fly over the stage.]

SOMERSET. What are they that fly there?

WARWICK. Richard and Hastings. Let them go; here is the duke.

KING EDWARD. The duke! why, Warwick, when we parted, Thou call'dst me king?

WARWICK. Ay, but the case is alter'd; When you disgrac'd 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?

KING EDWARD. Yea, brother of Clarence, art 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;

[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.

KING EDWARD. What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide.

[Exit King Edward, led out; Somerset with him.]

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.


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 befallen 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 surpris'd 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.

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.


SCENE V. A park near Middleham Castle in Yorkshire


GLOSTER. 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 advertis'd him by secret means That if about this hour he make this 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.

[Enter KING EDWARD and a Huntsman.]

HUNTSMAN. This way, my lord, for this way lies the game.

KING EDWARD. Nay, this way, man; see, where the huntsmen stand.— Now, brother of Gloster, Lord Hastings, and the rest, Stand you thus close to steal the bishop's deer?

GLOSTER. Brother, the time and case requireth haste; Your horse stands ready at the park corner.

KING EDWARD. But whither shall we then?

HASTINGS. To Lynn, my lord, and shipt from thence to Flanders.

GLOSTER. Well guess'd, believe me, for that was my meaning.

KING EDWARD. Stanley, I will requite thy forwardness.

GLOSTER. But wherefore stay we? 't is no time to talk.

KING EDWARD. Huntsman, what say'st thou? wilt thou go along?

HUNTSMAN. Better do so than tarry and be hang'd.

GLOSTER. Come then; away! let's have no more ado.

KING EDWARD. Bishop, farewell; shield thee from Warwick's frown, And pray that I may repossess the crown.


SCENE VI. London. The Tower

[Enter KING HENRY, CLARENCE, WARWICK, SOMERSET, Young RICHMOND, OXFORD, MONTAGUE, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Attendants.]

KING HENRY. 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. 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 sett'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 fam'd 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 Adjudg'd 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. 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 I must 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 pronounc'd a traitor, And all his lands and goods confiscated.

CLARENCE. What else? and that succession be determin'd.

WARWICK. Ay, therein Clarence shall not want his part.

KING HENRY. 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 eclips'd.

CLARENCE. It shall be done, my sovereign, with all speed.

KING HENRY. My Lord of Somerset, what youth is that Of whom you seem to have so tender care?

SOMERSET. My liege, it is young Henry, Earl of Richmond.

KING HENRY. Come hither, England's hope.—If secret powers

[Lays his hand on his head.]

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 fram'd 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 Messenger.]

WARWICK. What news, my friend?

MESSENGER. That Edward is escaped from your brother, And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.

WARWICK. Unsavoury news! but how made he escape?

MESSENGER. He was convey'd by Richard Duke of Gloster 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.

[Exeunt King Henry, Warwick, Clarence, Lieutenant, and attendants.]

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.

OXFORD. Ay; for if Edward repossess the crown, 'T is like that Richmond with the rest shall down.

SOMERSET. It shall be so; he shall to Brittany. Come therefore, let's about it speedily.


SCENE VII. Before York


KING EDWARD. 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 arriv'd From Ravenspurg haven before the gates of York, But that we enter as into our dukedom?

GLOSTER. The gates made fast!—Brother, I like not this; For many men that stumble at the threshold Are well foretold that danger lurks within.

KING EDWARD. 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.

[Enter on the walls, the Mayor of York and his Brethren.]

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. 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. Why, and I challenge nothing but my dukedom, As being well content with that alone.

GLOSTER. [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.

[Exeunt from above.]

GLOSTER. A wise, stout captain, and soon persuaded.

HASTINGS. The good old man would fain that all were well, So 't were 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.

[Enter the Mayor and two Aldermen, below.]

KING EDWARD. 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;

[Takes his keys.]

For Edward will defend the town and thee, And all those friends that deign to follow me.

[March. Enter MONTGOMERY and Forces.]

GLOSTER. Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery, Our trusty friend unless I be deceiv'd.

KING EDWARD. Welcome, Sir John; but why come you in arms?

MONTGOMERY. To help King Edward in his time of storm, As every loyal subject ought to do.

KING EDWARD. Thanks, good Montgomery; but we now forget Our title to the crown, and only claim Our dukedom till God please to send the rest.

MONTGOMERY. 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.

[A march begun.]

KING EDWARD. Nay, stay, Sir John, awhile, and we'll debate By what safe means the crown may be recover'd.

MONTGOMERY. 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 begone To keep them back that come to succour you. Why shall we fight if you pretend no title?

GLOSTER. Why, brother, wherefore stand you on nice points?

KING EDWARD. When we grow stronger, then we'll make our claim; Till then 't is wisdom to conceal our meaning.

HASTINGS. Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule.

GLOSTER. 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. Then be it as you will; for 't is my right, And Henry but usurps the diadem.

MONTGOMERY. 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.

[Gives him a paper. Flourish.]

SOLDIER. [Reads.] 'Edward the Fourth, by the grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland,' etc.

MONTGOMERY. And whoso'er gainsays King Edward's right, By this I challenge him to single fight.

[Throws down gauntlet.]

ALL. Long live Edward the Fourth!

KING EDWARD. 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.


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. 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 inclin'd to hear what thou command'st. — And thou, brave Oxford, wondrous well belov'd, 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. Farewell, my Hector, and my Troy's true hope.

CLARENCE. In sign of truth I kiss your highness' hand.

KING HENRY. Well-minded Clarence, be thou fortunate!

MONTAGUE. Comfort, my lord;—and so I take my leave.

OXFORD. And thus [kissing Henry's hand] I seal my truth, and bid adieu.

KING HENRY. Sweet Oxford, and my loving Montague, And all at once, once more a happy farewell.

WARWICK. Farewell, sweet lords; let's meet at Coventry.

[Exeunt Warwick, Clarendon, Oxford, and Montague.]

KING HENRY. Here at the palace will I rest a while.— Cousin of Exeter, what thinks your lordship? Methinks the power that Edward hath in field Should not be able to encounter mine.

EXETER. The doubt is that he will seduce the rest.

KING HENRY. 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.

[Shout within 'A Lancaster! A Lancaster!']

EXETER. Hark, hark, my lord! what shouts are these?

[Enter KING EDWARD, GLOSTER, and Soldiers.]

KING EDWARD. Seize on the shame-fac'd 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 shall suck them dry And swell so much the higher by their ebb.— Hence with him to the Tower! let him not speak.—

[Exeunt some with King Henry.]

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 hop'd-for hay.

GLOSTER. Away betimes, before his forces join, And take the great-grown traitor unawares. Brave warriors, march amain towards Coventry.



SCENE I. Coventry.

[Enter, upon the walls, WARWICK, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers, and others.]

WARWICK. Where is the post that came from valiant Oxford?— How far hence is thy lord, mine honest fellow?

1 MESSENGER. By this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward.

WARWICK. How far off is our brother Montague? Where is the post that came from Montague?

2 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?

SOMERVILLE. At Southam I did leave him with his forces And do expect him here some two hours hence.

[Drum heard.]

WARWICK. Then Clarence is at hand; I hear his drum.

SOMERVILLE. It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies. The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.

WARWICK. Who should that be? belike, unlook'd-for friends.

SOMERVILLE. They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.

[March. Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD, GLOSTER, and Forces.]

KING EDWARD. Go, trumpet, to the walls and sound a parle.

GLOSTER. See how the surly Warwick mans the wall.

WARWICK. O, unbid spite! Is sportful Edward come? Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduc'd, That we could hear no news of his repair?

KING EDWARD. 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 down? Call Warwick patron and be penitent, And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.

GLOSTER. 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?

GLOSTER. Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give; I'll do thee service for so good a gift.

WARWICK. 'T was I that gave the kingdom to thy brother.

KING EDWARD. Why, then, 't is 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. But Warwick's king is Edward's prisoner; And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this: What is the body when the head is off?

GLOSTER. 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.

KING EDWARD. 'T is even so; yet you are Warwick still.

GLOSTER. Come, Warwick, take the time; kneel down, kneel down. Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools.

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. 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.'

[Enter OXFORD, with Forces.]

WARWICK. O cheerful colours! see where Oxford comes.

OXFORD. Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city.]

GLOSTER. The gates are open; let us enter too.

KING EDWARD. 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 quietly rouse the traitors in the same.

WARWICK. O, welcome, Oxford, for we want thy help.

[Enter MONTAGUE, with Forces.]

MONTAGUE. Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city.]

GLOSTER. Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason, Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.

KING EDWARD. The harder match'd, the greater victory; My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.

[Enter SOMERSET, with forces.]

SOMERSET. Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city.]

GLOSTER. 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.

[Enter CLARENCE, with Forces.]

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!—

[Gloster and Clarence whisper.]

Come, Clarence, come; thou wilt if Warwick call.

CLARENCE. Father of Warwick, know you what this means?

[Taking the 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 Jephtha's when he sacrific'd 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, whereso'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.

KING EDWARD. Now, welcome more, and ten times more belov'd, Than if thou never hadst deserv'd our hate.

GLOSTER. Welcome, good Clarence; this is brother-like.

WARWICK. O passing traitor, perjur'd and unjust!

KING EDWARD. What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight, Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?

WARWICK. Alas! I am not coop'd here for defence; I will away towards Barnet presently, And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou dar'st.

KING EDWARD. Yes, Warwick, Edward dares and leads the way.— Lords, to the field! Saint George and victory!

[March. Exeunt.]

SCENE II. A Field of Battle near Barnet.

[Alarum and excursions. Enter KING EDWARD, bringing in WARWICK wounded.]

KING EDWARD. 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 pow'rful wind. These eyes, that now are dimm'd with death's black veil, Have been as piercing as the midday sun, To search the secret treasons of the world; The wrinkles in my brows, now fill'd with blood, Were liken'd oft to kingly sepulchres, For who liv'd king but I could dig his grave? And who durst smile 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, couldst 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 lov'st me not; for, brother, if thou did'st, 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 breath'd his last, And to the latest gasp cried out for Warwick, And said '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 might not be distinguish'd; but at last I well might hear, delivered with a groan,— 'O farewell, Warwick!'

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!

[Exeunt bearing off Warwick's body.]

SCENE III. Another Part of the Field

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD in triumph; with CLARENCE, GLOSTER, and the rest.]

KING EDWARD. Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course, And we are grac'd 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 rais'd in Gallia have arriv'd 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; Thy very beams will dry those vapours up, For every cloud engenders not a storm.

GLOSTER. The queen is valued thirty thousand strong, And Somerset, with Oxford, fled to her; If she have time to breathe, be well assur'd, Her faction will be full as strong as ours.

KING EDWARD. We are advertis'd by our loving friends That they do hold their course toward Tewkesbury. 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.


SCENE IV. Plains wear Tewkesbury


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 sav'd? Ah, what a shame! ah, what a fault were this! Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that? And Montague our topmast; what of him? Our slaught'red 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 wrack, As good to chide the waves as speak them fair. And what is Edward but a 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, 't is 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 hop'd-for mercy with the brothers More than with ruthless waves, with sands, and rocks. Why, courage then! what cannot be avoided 'T were childish weakness to lament or fear.

PRINCE. 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 the 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, 't were 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.

QUEEN MARGARET. Thanks, gentle Somerset.—Sweet Oxford, thanks.

PRINCE. And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.

[Enter a Messenger.]

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 deceiv'd; we are in readiness.

QUEEN MARGARET. This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.

OXFORD. Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.

[Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD, CLARENCE, GLOSTER, and Forces.]

KING EDWARD. Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood Which, by the heaven's 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 my 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.

[Exeunt both armies.]

SCENE V. Another part of the Field.

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD, CLARENCE, GLOSTER, and Forces; With QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and SOMERSET, as prisoners.]

KING EDWARD. 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.

OXFORD. For my part, I'll not trouble thee with words.

SOMERSET. Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.

[Exeunt Oxford and Somerset, guarded.]

QUEEN MARGARET. So part we sadly in this troublous world, To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.

KING EDWARD. Is proclamation made that who finds Edward Shall have a high reward, and he his life?

GLOSTER. It is; and lo, where youthful Edward comes!

[Enter soldiers with PRINCE EDWARD.]

KING EDWARD. Bring forth the gallant; let us hear him speak. What! can so young a man 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. 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, thy father had been so resolv'd!

GLOSTER. That you might still have worn the petticoat, And ne'er have stol'n the breech from Lancaster.

PRINCE. Let Aesop fable in a winter's night; His currish riddle sorts not with this place.

GLOSTER. By heaven, brat, I'll plague you for that word.

QUEEN MARGARET. Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.

GLOSTER. For God's sake, take away this captive scold.

PRINCE. Nay, take away this scolding crook-back rather.

KING EDWARD. Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.

CLARENCE. Untutor'd lad, thou art too malapert.

PRINCE. I know my duty; you are all undutiful. Lascivious Edward,—and thou perjur'd George,— And thou misshapen 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. Take that, the likeness of this railer here.

[Stabs him.]

GLOSTER. Sprawl'st thou? take that, to end thy agony.

[Stabs him.]

CLARENCE. And there's for twitting me with perjury.

[Stabs him.]

QUEEN MARGARET. O, kill me too!

GLOSTER. Marry, and shall.

[Offers to kill her.]

KING EDWARD. Hold, Richard, hold! for we have done to much.

GLOSTER. Why should she live to fill the world with words?

KING EDWARD. What! doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.

GLOSTER. 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?

GLOSTER. The Tower! the Tower!


QUEEN MARGARET. O Ned! sweet Ned! speak to thy mother, boy. Canst thou not speak?—O traitors! murtherers! 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 murtherer, that I may name it? No, no, my heart will burst, an 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, deathsmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!

KING EDWARD. 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; 'T was sin before, but now 't is charity. What! wilt thou not? where is that devil's butcher, Hard-favour'd Richard?—Richard, where art thou? Thou art not here; murther is thy alms-deed, Petitioners for blood thou ne'er putt'st back.

KING EDWARD. Away, I say! I charge ye, bear her hence.

QUEEN MARGARET. So come to you and yours as to this prince!

[She is taken out.]

KING EDWARD. Where's Richard gone?

CLARENCE. To London, all in post, and, as I guess, To make a bloody supper in the Tower.

KING EDWARD. 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.


SCENE VI. London. The Tower.

[KING HENRY is discovered sitting with a book in his hand, the Lieutenant attending. Enter GLOSTER.]

GLOSTER. Good day, my lord. What! at your book so hard?

KING HENRY. Ay, my good lord;—my lord, I should say rather. 'T is sin to flatter; 'good' was little better. Good Gloster and good devil were alike, And both preposterous; therefore, not good lord.

GLOSTER. Sirrah, leave us to ourselves; we must confer.

[Exit Lieutenant.]

KING HENRY. 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?

GLOSTER. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

KING HENRY. 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 lim'd, was caught, and kill'd.

GLOSTER. Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete That taught his son the office of a fowl! And yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown'd.

KING HENRY. 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?

GLOSTER. Think'st thou I am an executioner?

KING HENRY. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art; If murdering innocents be executing, Why, then thou are an executioner.

GLOSTER. Thy son I kill'd for his presumption.

KING HENRY. Hadst thou been kill'd when first thou didst presume, Thou hadst not liv'd 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' fate, 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 chatt'ring pies in dismal discord sung. Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain, And yet brought forth less than a mother's hope, 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 cam'st to bite the world; And, if the rest be true which I have heard, Thou cam'st—

GLOSTER. I'll hear no more. Die, prophet, in thy speech.

[Stabs him.]

For this, amongst the rest, was I ordain'd.

KING HENRY. Ay, and for much more slaughter after this. O, God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!


GLOSTER. 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 always 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,

[Stabs him again.]

I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear. Indeed, 't is 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 shap'd 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 greybeards 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 buzz 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.]

SCENE 7. London. The Palace.

[KING EDWARD is discovered sitting on his throne; QUEEN ELIZABETH with the infant Prince, CLARENCE, Gloster, HASTINGS, and others, near him.]

KING EDWARD. Once more we sit in England's royal throne, Re-purchas'd 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.

Gloster. [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 that shall execute.

KING EDWARD. Clarence and Gloster, 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.

Gloster. 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, And cried, all hail! when as he meant all harm.

KING EDWARD. 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. 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.



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