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Page:Henry VI Part 3 (1923) Yale.djvu/43

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King Henry the Sixth, II. ii
31
 

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;


18 safeguard: protection
19 level: aim
22 raise: ennoble
33 precedent: example
38 fondly: foolishly