Henry VI Part 3 (1923) Yale/Text/Act II


Scene One

[Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire]

A March. Enter Edward, Richard, and their power.

Edw. I wonder how our princely father 'scap'd,
Or whether he be 'scap'd away or no
From Clifford's and Northumberland's pursuit.
Had he been ta'en, we should have heard the news; 4
Had he been slain, we should have heard the news;
Or had he 'scap'd, methinks we should have heard
The happy tidings of his good escape.
How fares my brother? why is he so sad? 8

Rich. I cannot joy until I be resolv'd
Where our right valiant father is become.
I saw him in the battle range about,
And watch'd him how he singled Clifford forth. 12
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, 16
The rest stand all aloof and bark at him.
So far'd our father with his enemies;
So fled his enemies my warlike father:
Methinks 'tis prize enough to be his son. 20
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. 24
Edw. Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?

Rich. Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;
Not separated with the racking clouds,
But sever'd in a pale clear-shining sky. 28
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. 32

Edw. '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, 36
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. 40

Rich. Nay, bear three daughters: by your leave I speak it,
You love the breeder better than the male.

Enter one blowing.

But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell
Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue? 44

Mess. Ah! one that was a woeful looker-on,
When as the noble Duke of York was slain,
Your princely father, and my loving lord.

Edw. O! speak no more, for I have heard too much. 48

Rich. Say how he died, for I will hear it all.

Mess. Environed he was with many foes,
And stood against them, as the hope of Troy
Against the Greeks that would have enter'd Troy. 52
But Hercules himself must yield to odds;
And many strokes, though with a little axe,
Hews down and fells the hardest-timber'd oak.
By many hands your father was subdu'd; 58
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, 60
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, 64
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.

Edw. Sweet Duke of York! our prop to lean upon, 68
Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay!
O Clifford! boist'rous Clifford! thou hast slain
The flower of Europe for his chivalry;
And treacherously hast thou vanquish'd him, 72
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, 76
For never henceforth shall I joy again,
Never, O! never, shall I see more joy.

Rich. I cannot weep, for all my body's moisture
Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart: 80
Nor can my tongue unload my heart's great burthen;
For self-same wind that I should speak withal
Is kindling coals that fires all my breast,
And burns me up with flames, that tears would quench. 84
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. 88

Edw. His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
His dukedom and his chair with me is left.

Rich. Nay, if thou be that princely eagle's bird,
Show thy descent by gazing 'gainst the sun: 92
For chair and dukedom, throne and kingdom say;
Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.

March. Enter Warwick, Marquess Montague, and their Army.

War. How now, fair lords! What fare? what news abroad?

Rich. Great Lord of Warwick, if we should recount 96
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. 100

Edw. O Warwick! Warwick! that Plantagenet
Which held thee dearly as his soul's redemption,
Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.

War. Ten days ago I drown'd these news in tears, 104
And now, to add more measure to your woes,
I come to tell you things sith then befallen.
After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought,
Where your brave father breath'd his latest gasp, 108
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, 112
[And very well appointed, as I thought,]
March'd towards Saint Albans to intercept the queen,
Bearing the king in my behalf along;
For by my scouts I was advertised 116
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 Albans met, 120
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; 124
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, 128
Their weapons like to lightning came and went;
Our soldiers', like the night-owl's lazy flight,
Or like a lazy thresher with a flail,
Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends. 132
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; 136
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, 140
Making another head to fight again.

Edw. Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick?
And when came George from Burgundy to England?

War. Some six miles off the duke is with the soldiers; 144
And for your brother, he was lately sent
From your kind aunt, Duchess of Burgundy,
With aid of soldiers to this needful war.

Rich. 'Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled: 148
Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
But ne'er till now his scandal of retire.

War. Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear;
For thou shalt know, this strong right hand of mine 152
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 fam'd for mildness, peace, and prayer. 156

Rich. 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, 160
And wrap our bodies in black mourning gowns,
Numb'ring our Ave-Maries with our beads?
Or shall we on the helmets of our foes
Tell our devotion with revengeful arms? 164
If for the last, say 'Ay,' and to it, lords.

War. Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out;
And therefore comes my brother Montague.
Attend me, lords. The proud insulting queen, 168
With Clifford and the haught Northumberland,
And of their feather many moe proud birds,
Have wrought the easy-melting king like wax.
He swore consent to your succession, 172
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. 176
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, 180
Will but amount to five and twenty thousand,
Why, Via! to London will we march,
And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
And once again cry, 'Charge upon our foes!' 184
But never once again turn back and fly.

Rich. Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak:
Ne'er may he live to see a sunshine day,
That cries 'Retire,' if Warwick bid him stay. 188

Edw. 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!

War. No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York: 192
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 196
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. 200

Rich. 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.

Edw. Then strike up, drums! God, and Saint George for us! 204

Enter a Messenger.

War. How now! what news?

Mess. The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me,
The queen is coming with a puissant host;
And craves your company for speedy counsel. 208

War. Why then it sorts; brave warriors, let's away.

Exeunt omnes.

Scene Two

[Before York]

Flourish. Enter the King, the Queen, Clifford, Northumberland, and young Prince, with drum and trumpets.

Queen. 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? 4

King. Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wrack:
To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
Withhold revenge, dear God! 'tis not my fault,
Nor wittingly have I infring'd my vow. 8

Clif. 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. 12
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. 16
The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
Ambitious York did level at thy crown,
Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows: 20
He, but a duke, would have his son a king,
And raise his issue like a loving sire;
Thou, being a king, bless'd with a goodly son,
Didst yield consent to disinherit him, 24
Which argu'd 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, 28
Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
Which sometime they have us'd with fearful flight,
Make war with him that climb'd unto their nest,
Offering their own lives in their young's defence? 32
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, 36
'What my great grandfather and 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 40
Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart
To hold thine own and leave thine own with him.

King. Full well hath Clifford play'd the orator,
Inferring arguments of mighty force. 44
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? 48
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 52
Than in possession any jot of pleasure.
Ah! cousin York, would thy best friends did know
How it doth grieve me that thy head is here!

Queen. My lord, cheer up your spirits: our foes are nigh, 56
And this soft courage makes your followers faint.
You promis'd knighthood to our forward son:
Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently.
Edward, kneel down. 60

King. Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight;
And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right.

Prince. My gracious father, by your kingly leave,
I'll draw it as apparent to the crown, 64
And in that quarrel use it to the death.

Clif. Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Royal commanders, be in readiness:
For with a band of thirty thousand men 68
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. 72

Clif. I would your highness would depart the field:
The queen hath best success when you are absent.

Queen. Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.

King. Why, that's my fortune too; therefore I'll stay. 76

North. Be it with resolution then to fight.

Prince. My royal father, cheer these noble lords,
And hearten those that fight in your defence:
Unsheathe your sword, good father: cry, 'Saint George!' 80

March. Enter Edward, Warwick, Richard, Clarence, Norfolk, Montague, and Soldiers.

Edw. Now, perjur'd Henry, wilt thou kneel for grace,
And set thy diadem upon my head;
Or bide the mortal fortune of the field?

Queen. Go, rate thy minions, proud insulting boy! 84
Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms
Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?

Edw. I am his king, and he should bow his knee;
I was adopted heir by his consent: 88
Since when, his oath is broke; for, as I hear,
You, that are king, though he do wear the crown,
Have caus'd him, by new act of parliament,
To blot out me, and put his own son in. 92

Clif. And reason too:
Who should succeed the father but the son?

Rich. Are you there, butcher? O! I cannot speak.

Clif. Ay, crook-back; here I stand to answer thee, 96
Or any he the proudest of thy sort.

Rich. 'Twas you that kill'd young Rutland, was it not?

Clif. Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.

Rich. For God's sake, lords, give signal to the fight. 100

War. What sayst thou, Henry, wilt thou yield the crown?

Queen. Why, how now, long tongu'd Warwick! dare you speak?
When you and I met at Saint Albans last,
Your legs did better service than your hands. 104

War. Then 'twas my turn to fly, and now 'tis thine.

Clif. You said so much before, and yet you fled.

War. 'Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.

North. No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay. 108

Rich. 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. 112

Clif. I slew thy father: call'st thou him a child?

Rich. 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. 116

King. Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.

Queen. Defy them, then, or else hold close thy lips.

King. I prithee, give no limits to my tongue:
I am a king, and privileg'd to speak. 120

Clif. My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
Cannot be cur'd by words; therefore be still.

Rich. Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword.
By him that made us all, I am resolv'd 124
That Clifford's manhood lies upon his tongue.

Edw. 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. 128

War. If thou deny, their blood upon thy head;
For York in justice puts his armour on.

Prince. If that be right which Warwick says is right,
There is no wrong, but everything is right. 132

Rich. Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands;
For well I wot thou hast thy mother's tongue.

Queen. But thou art neither like thy sire nor dam,
But like a foul misshapen stigmatic, 136
Mark'd by the destinies to be avoided,
As venom toads, or lizards' dreadful stings.

Rich. Iron of Naples hid with English gilt,—
Whose father bears the title of a king, 140
As if a channel should be call'd the sea,—
Sham'st thou not, knowing whence thou art extraught,
To let thy tongue detect thy base-born heart?

Edw. A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns, 144
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 148
By that false woman as this king by thee.
His father revell'd in the heart of France,
And tam'd the king, and made the Dauphin stoop;
And had he match'd according to his state, 152
He might have kept that glory to this day;
But when he took a beggar to his bed,
And grac'd thy poor sire with his bridal day,
Even then that sunshine brew'd a shower for him, 156
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, 160
And we, in pity of the gentle king,
Had slipp'd our claim until another age.

Clar. But when we saw our sunshine made thy spring,
And that thy summer bred us no increase, 164
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, 168
Or bath'd thy growing with our heated bloods.

Edw. And in this resolution I defy thee;
Not willing any longer conference,
Since thou deny'st the gentle king to speak. 172
Sound trumpets!—let our bloody colours wave!
And either victory, or else a grave.

Queen. Stay, Edward.

Edw. No, wrangling woman, we'll no longer stay:
These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.

Exeunt omnes.

Scene Three

[A Field of Battle between Towton and Saxton, in Yorkshire]

Alarum. Excursions. Enter Warwick.

War. Forspent with toil, as runners with a race,
I lay me down a little while to breathe;
For strokes receiv'd, and many blows repaid,
Have robb'd my strong-knit sinews of their strength, 4
And spite of spite needs must I rest a while.

Enter Edward, running.

Edw. Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle death!
For this world frowns, and Edward's sun is clouded.

War. How now, my lord! what hap? what hope of good? 8

Enter Clarence.

Clar. 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? 11

Edw. Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings;
And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.

Enter Richard.

Rich. 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; 16
And in the very pangs of death he cried,
Like to a dismal clangor heard from far,
'Warwick, revenge! brother, revenge my death!'
So, underneath the belly of their steeds, 20
That stain'd their fetlocks in his smoking blood,
The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.

War. Then let the earth be drunken with our blood:
I'll kill my horse because I will not fly. 24
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? 28
Here on my knee I vow to God above,
I'll never pause again, never stand still,
Till either death hath clos'd these eyes of mine,
Or fortune given me measure of revenge. 32

Edw. 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, 36
Thou setter up and plucker down of kings,
Beseeching thee, if with thy will it stands
That to my foes this body must be prey,
Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ope, 40
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.

Rich. Brother, give me thy hand; and, gentle Warwick, 44
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.

War. Away, away! Once more, sweet lords, farewell. 48

Clar. 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 52
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. 56


Scene Four

[Another Part of the Field]

Excursions. Enter Richard and Clifford.

Rich. 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. 4

Clif. 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 8
And cheers these hands that slew thy sire and brother,
To execute the like upon thyself;
And so, have at thee!

They fight. Warwick comes. Clifford flies.

Rich. Nay, Warwick, single out some other chase; 12
For I myself will hunt this wolf to death.


Scene Five

[Another Part of the Field]

Alarum. Enter King Henry alone.

Hen. 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. 4
Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea
Forc'd by the tide to combat with the wind;
Now sways it that way, like the self-same sea
Forc'd to retire by fury of the wind: 8
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: 12
So is the equal poise 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, 16
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? 20
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, 24
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; 28
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; 32
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; 36
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. 40
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 44
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, 48
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, 52
His body couched in a curious bed,
When care, mistrust, and treason wait on him.

Alarum. Enter a Son that hath killed his Father at one door: and a Father that hath killed his Son at another door.

Son. Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
This man whom hand to hand I slew in fight 56
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. 60
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; 64
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 receiv'd my life,
Have by my hands of life bereaved him. 68
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. 72

King. 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; 76
And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,
Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharg'd with grief.

Enter Father, bearing of his Son.

Fath. Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me,
Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold, 80
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, 84
Throw up thine eye: see, see! what showers arise,
Blown with the windy tempest of my heart,
Upon thy wounds, that kills mine eye and heart.
O! pity, God, this miserable age. 88
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, 92
And hath bereft thee of thy life too late.

King. Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
O! that my death would stay these ruthful deeds.
O! pity, pity; gentle heaven, pity. 96
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: 100
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! 104

Fath. How will my wife for slaughter of my son
Shed seas of tears and ne'er be satisfied!

King. How will the country for these woeful chances
Misthink the king and not be satisfied! 108

Son. Was ever son so ru'd a father's death?

Fath. Was ever father so bemoan'd his son?

King. Was ever king so griev'd for subjects' woe?
Much is your sorrow; mine, ten times so much. 112

Son. I'll bear thee hence, where I may weep my fill.

[Exit with the body.]

Fath. 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: 116
My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell;
And so obsequious will thy father be,
E'en for the loss of thee, having no more,
As Priam was for all his valiant sons. 120
I'll bear thee hence; and let them fight that will,
For I have murther'd where I should not kill.

Exit [with the body].

Hen. Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,
Here sits a king more woeful than you are. 124

Alarums. Excursions. Enter the Queen, the Prince, and Exeter.

Prince. 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. Mount you, my lord; towards Berwick post amain. 128
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, 132
Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain.

Exe. Away! for vengeance comes along with them.
Nay, stay not to expostulate; make speed,
Or else come after: I'll away before. 136

Hen. Nay, take me with thee, good sweet Exeter:
Not that I fear to stay, but love to go
Whither the queen intends. Forward! away!


Scene Six

[The Same]

A loud alarum. Enter Clifford, wounded.

Clif. 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. 4
My love and fear glu'd many friends to thee;
And, now I fall, thy tough commixtures melts,
Impairing Henry, strength'ning misproud York:
[ The common people swarm like summer flies; ] 8
And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?
And who shines now but Henry's enemies?
O Phœbus! hadst thou never given consent
That Phaethon should check thy fiery steeds, 12
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, 16
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. 20
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: 24
The foe is merciless, and will not pity,
For at their hands I have deserv'd no pity.
The air hath got into my deadly wounds,
And much effuse of blood doth make me faint. 28
Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest;
I stabb'd your fathers' bosoms, split my breast.

[He faints.]

Alarum and Retreat. Enter Edward, Warwick, Richard, and Soldiers, Montague and Clarence.

Edw. Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause,
And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks. 32
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. 36
But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them?

War. No, 'tis impossible he should escape;
For, though before his face I speak the words,
Your brother Richard mark'd him for the grave; 40
And wheresoe'er he is, he's surely dead.

Clifford groans [and dies].

Edw. Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?

Rich. A deadly groan, like life and death's departing.

Edw. See who it is: and now the battle's ended, 44
If friend or foe let him be gently us'd.

Rich. 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, 48
But set his murth'ring knife unto the root
From whence that tender spray did sweetly spring,
I mean our princely father, Duke of York.

War. From off the gates of York fetch down the head, 52
Your father's head, which Clifford placed there;
Instead whereof let this supply the room:
Measure for measure must be answered.

Edw. Bring forth that fatal screech-owl to our house, 56
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.

War. I think his understanding is bereft. 60
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.

Rich. O! would he did; and so perhaps he doth: 64
'Tis but his policy to counterfeit,
Because he would avoid such bitter taunts
Which in the time of death he gave our father.

Clar. If so thou think'st, vex him with eager words. 68

Rich. Clifford! ask mercy and obtain no grace.

Edw. Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.

War. Clifford! devise excuses for thy faults.

Clar. While we devise fell tortures for thy faults. 72

Rich. Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.

Edw. Thou pitiedst Rutland, I will pity thee.

Clar. Where's Captain Margaret, to fence you now?

War. They mock thee, Clifford: swear as thou wast wont. 76

Rich. 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 hours' life, 80
That I in all despite might rail at him,
This hand should chop it off, and with the issuing blood
Stifle the villain whose unstaunched thirst
York and young Rutland could not satisfy. 84

War. 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: 88
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 92
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; 96
And then to Brittany I'll cross the sea,
To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.

Edw. Even as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be;
For in thy shoulder do I build my seat, 100
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, 104
Shall do and undo as him pleaseth best.

Rich. Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester,
For Gloucester's dukedom is too ominous.

War. Tut! that's a foolish observation: 108
Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London,
To see these honours in possession. Exeunt.

Footnotes to Act II

Scene One

9 resolv'd: informed
10 Where . . . is become: what has become of
13 bore him: behaved himself
14 neat: cattle
20 prize; cf. n.
22 Takes leaves of the sun as it sets out on its daily course
23 prime: springtime
24 younker: stripling
51 the hope of Troy: Hector
68, 69 Cf. n.
71 Him who in knightly prowess was the pride of Europe
80 furnace-burning: burning like a furnace
90 chair: seat of authority
91, 92 Cf. n.
91 bird: fledgling
95 What fare: how do you fare?
110 depart: decease
113 appointed: equipped; cf. n.
116 advertised: informed
118 dash: frustrate
124 heated spleen: hot valor
138 Lord George: Clarence
139 haste, post-haste: the greatest possible speed
140 marches: borders (of Wales)
141 head: armed force
146 Duchess of Burgundy; cf. n.
148 'Twas odds, belike: the odds must have been great
150 scandal of retire: disgrace through retreat
164 Tell . . . devotion: say our prayers, show our love (pun)
169 haught: proud
170 moe: more
171 wrought: worked, moulded
173 enrolled: formally written in a parchment roll
182 Via: forward
187 sunshine: bright
193 degree: step
209 sorts: turns out well

Scene Two

18 safeguard: protection
19 level: aim
22 raise: ennoble
33 precedent: example
38 fondly: foolishly
44 Inferring: alleging
47 happy . . . it: did things always turn out well
58 forward: ardent
64 apparent: heir-apparent
66 toward: hopeful
72 Darraign: draw up
battle: line of battle
73 depart: leave
76 Cf. n.
84 rate: scold
minions: saucy favorites
85 thus . . . terms: on so insolent a footing
89-92 Cf. n.
93 reason: it was reasonable
97 any . . . proudest: the proudest one whatever
sort: party
109 reverently: in respect
119 limits: limitation
124 resolv'd: convinced
129 deny: refuse
130 in . . . on: fights in a just cause
133 got: begot
136 stigmatic: one branded by deformity
138 venom: poisonous
139 You whose cheap Neapolitan origin is gilded by your English rank
141 channel: gutter
142 extraught: extracted
144 wisp of straw; cf. n.
145 callet: lewd woman
147 Menelaus: the typical injured husband
155 Cf. n.
162 slipp'd: let pass, forgone
164 increase: harvest
166 something: somewhat
169 bath'd thy growing: watered thy roots
172 deny'st: forbiddest

Scene Three

1 Forspent: utterly exhausted; cf. n.
8 hap: fortune
12 Bootless: fruitless
15 Thy brother's blood; cf. n.
16 Broach'd: set flowing
27 upon: on
32 measure: due proportion
38 stands: accords
56 Forslow: delay

Scene Four

1 singled: selected one victim from the herd (hunting term)
9 cheers: encourages

Scene Five

3 blowing of: warming by breathing on
24 dials: sundials
quaintly: ingeniously
34 sport: amuse
36 ean: give birth
43 silly: harmless
50 secure: securely
51 delicates: dainties
53 curious: gorgeous
54 Cf. n.
57 with: of
store: quantity
58 haply: by chance
62 unwares: unknowingly
64 press'd forth: led out by impressment
78 S. d.; cf. n.
87 Upon: at sight of
90 Erroneous: criminal
93 late: recently
95 ruthful: pitiable
100 presenteth: symbolize
104 Take on: rave
108 Misthink: think ill of
118 obsequious: dutiful in mourning
123 overgone: oppressed
126 chafed: angered
131 very: veritable

Scene Six

Scene Six S. d.; cf. n.
5 My . . . fear: love and fear of me
6 commixtures: compounds, substances held together by glue
7 Impairing: weakening
8 Cf. n.
12 check: curb, manage
17 sprung: propagated
28 effuse: shedding.
36 argosy: large merchant vessel
42-44 Cf. n.
46 doom: judgment
48 when . . . forth: in youth
49 But set; cf. n.
54 supply the room: take its place
55 Treatment given must correspond to treatment received
60 understanding: consciousness
67 Which: as
68 eager: biting
75 fence: shield
77 goes hard: has come to a hard pass
81 despite: obloquy
83 unstaunched: insatiable
90 Lady Bona; cf. n.
91 sinew: join
107 Cf. n.