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Henry VI Part III

Henry VI Part III

Act I, Scene 1(Henry VI Part III)

London. The Parliament-house.      


  • Earl of Warwick. I wonder how the king escaped our hands.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). While we pursued the horsemen of the north,
    He slily stole away and left his men: 5
    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 10
    Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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. 15
  • Marquess of Montague. And, brother, here’s the Earl of Wiltshire’s blood,
    Whom I encounter’d as the battles join’d.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Speak thou for me and tell them what I did.

[Throwing down SOMERSET’s head]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Richard hath best deserved of all my sons. 20
    But is your grace dead, my Lord of Somerset?
  • Duke of Norfolk. Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thus do I hope to shake King Henry’s head.
  • Earl of Warwick. And so do I. Victorious Prince of York,
    Before I see thee seated in that throne 25
    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’ 30
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will;
    For hither we have broken in by force.
  • Duke of Norfolk. We’ll all assist you; he that flies shall die.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Thanks, gentle Norfolk: stay by me, my lords;
    And, soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night. 35

[They go up]

  • Earl of Warwick. And when the king comes, offer no violence,
    Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). The queen this day here holds her parliament,
    But little thinks we shall be of her council: 40
    By words or blows here let us win our right.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Arm’d as we are, let’s stay within this house.
  • Earl of Warwick. The bloody parliament shall this be call’d,
    Unless Plantagenet, Duke of York, be king,
    And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice 45
    Hath made us by-words to our enemies.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute;
    I mean to take possession of my right.
  • Earl of Warwick. Neither the king, nor he that loves him best,
    The proudest he that holds up Lancaster, 50
    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.
    [Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, CLIFFORD,] 
  • 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. 60
    And thine, Lord Clifford; and you both have vow’d revenge
    On him, his sons, his favourites and his friends.
  • Earl of Northumberland. If I be not, heavens be revenged on me!
  • Lord Clifford. The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in steel.
  • Earl of Westmoreland. What, shall we suffer this? let’s pluck him down: 65
    My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.
  • Henry VI. Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmoreland.
  • Lord Clifford. Patience is for poltroons, such as he:
    He durst not sit there, had your father lived.
    My gracious lord, here in the parliament 70
    Let us assail the family of York.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Well hast thou spoken, cousin: be it so.
  • Henry VI. Ah, know you not the city favours them,
    And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?
  • Duke of Exeter. But when the duke is slain, they’ll quickly fly. 75
  • 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, 80
    and kneel for grace and mercy at my feet;
    I am thy sovereign.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I am thine.
  • Duke of Exeter. For shame, come down: he made thee Duke of York.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). ‘Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was. 85
  • Duke of Exeter. Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
  • Earl of Warwick. Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
    In following this usurping Henry.
  • Lord Clifford. Whom should he follow but his natural king?
  • Earl of Warwick. True, Clifford; and that’s Richard Duke of York. 90
  • Henry VI. And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). It must and shall be so: content thyself.
  • Earl of Warwick. Be Duke of Lancaster; let him be king.
  • Earl of Westmoreland. He is both king and Duke of Lancaster;
    And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall maintain. 95
  • Earl of 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.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief; 100
    And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
  • Earl of 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.
  • Lord Clifford. Urge it no more; lest that, instead of words, 105
    I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
    As shall revenge his death before I stir.
  • Earl of Warwick. Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worthless threats!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Will you we show our title to the crown?
    If not, our swords shall plead it in the field. 110
  • 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 115
    And seized upon their towns and provinces.
  • Earl of Warwick. Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.
  • Henry VI. The lord protector lost it, and not I:
    When I was crown’d I was but nine months old.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). You are old enough now, and yet, methinks, you lose. 120
    Father, tear the crown from the usurper’s head.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.
  • Marquess of Montague. Good brother, as thou lovest and honourest arms,
    Let’s fight it out and not stand cavilling thus.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will fly. 125
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Sons, peace!
  • Henry VI. Peace, thou! and give King Henry leave to speak.
  • Earl of Warwick. Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him, lords;
    And be you silent and attentive too,
    For he that interrupts him shall not live. 130
  • 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, 135
    Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords?
    My title’s good, and better far than his.
  • Earl of Warwick. Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.
  • Henry VI. Henry the Fourth by conquest got the crown.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). ‘Twas by rebellion against his king. 140
  • Henry VI. [Aside] I know not what to say; my title’s weak.—
    Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). What then?
  • Henry VI. An if he may, then am I lawful king;
    For Richard, in the view of many lords, 145
    Resign’d the crown to Henry the Fourth,
    Whose heir my father was, and I am his.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). He rose against him, being his sovereign,
    And made him to resign his crown perforce.
  • Earl of Warwick. Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain’d, 150
    Think you ’twere prejudicial to his crown?
  • Duke of Exeter. No; for he could not so resign his crown
    But that the next heir should succeed and reign.
  • Henry VI. Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter?
  • Duke of Exeter. His is the right, and therefore pardon me. 155
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?
  • Duke of Exeter. My conscience tells me he is lawful king.
  • Henry VI. [Aside] All will revolt from me, and turn to him.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay’st,
    Think not that Henry shall be so deposed. 160
  • Earl of Warwick. Deposed he shall be, in despite of all.
  • Earl of 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. 165
  • Lord 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!
  • Henry VI. O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart! 170
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.
    What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?
  • Earl of 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, 175
    Write up his title with usurping blood.
    [He stamps with his foot and the soldiers show] 
  • Henry VI. My Lord of Warwick, hear me but one word:
    Let me for this my life-time reign as king. 180
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs,
    And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou livest.
  • Henry VI. I am content: Richard Plantagenet,
    Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.
  • Lord Clifford. What wrong is this unto the prince your son! 185
  • Earl of Warwick. What good is this to England and himself!
  • Earl of Westmoreland. Base, fearful and despairing Henry!
  • Lord Clifford. How hast thou injured both thyself and us!
  • Earl of Westmoreland. I cannot stay to hear these articles.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Nor I. 190
  • Lord Clifford. Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these news.
  • Earl of Westmoreland. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
    In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Be thou a prey unto the house of York,
    And die in bands for this unmanly deed! 195
  • Lord Clifford. In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome,
    Or live in peace abandon’d and despised!


  • Earl of Warwick. Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not.
  • Duke of Exeter. They seek revenge and therefore will not yield. 200
  • Henry VI. Ah, Exeter!
  • Earl of Warwick. Why should you sigh, my lord?
  • Henry VI. Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son,
    Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.
    But be it as it may: I here entail 205
    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 210
    To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). This oath I willingly take and will perform.
  • Earl of Warwick. Long live King Henry! Plantagenet embrace him.
  • Henry VI. And long live thou and these thy forward sons!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Now York and Lancaster are reconciled. 215
  • Duke of Exeter. Accursed be he that seeks to make them foes!

[Sennet. Here they come down]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Farewell, my gracious lord; I’ll to my castle.
  • Earl of Warwick. And I’ll keep London with my soldiers.
  • Duke of Norfolk. And I to Norfolk with my followers. 220
  • Marquess of Montague. And I unto the sea from whence I came.
    WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, their Soldiers, and
  • Henry VI. And I, with grief and sorrow, to the court. 225


  • Duke of Exeter. Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray her anger:
    I’ll steal away.
  • Henry VI. Exeter, so will I.
  • Queen Margaret. Nay, go not from me; I will follow thee. 230
  • 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 235
    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, 240
    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?
  • Henry VI. Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me, sweet son: 245
    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 250
    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; 255
    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, 260
    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, 265
    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 270
    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.
  • Henry VI. Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me speak.
  • Queen Margaret. Thou hast spoke too much already: get thee gone. 275
  • Henry VI. Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay with me?
  • Queen Margaret. Ay, to be murder’d by his enemies.
  • 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. 280


  • 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, 285
    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. 290
  • Duke of Exeter. And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act I, Scene 2(Henry VI Part III)

Sandal Castle.      


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Brother, though I be youngest, give me leave.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). No, I can better play the orator. 295
  • Marquess of Montague. But I have reasons strong and forcible.

[Enter YORK]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Why, how now, sons and brother! at a strife?
    What is your quarrel? how began it first?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). No quarrel, but a slight contention. 300
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). About what?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). About that which concerns your grace and us;
    The crown of England, father, which is yours.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Mine boy? not till King Henry be dead.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Your right depends not on his life or death. 305
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I took an oath that he should quietly reign.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But for a kingdom any oath may be broken: 310
    I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No; God forbid your grace should be forsworn.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I shall be, if I claim by open war.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I’ll prove the contrary, if you’ll hear me speak.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Thou canst not, son; it is impossible. 315
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 320
    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. 325
    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.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Richard, enough; I will be king, or die.
    Brother, thou shalt to London presently, 330
    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: 335
    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, 340
    Nor any of the house of Lancaster?
    [Enter a Messenger] 
    But, stay: what news? Why comest thou in such post?
  • Messenger. The queen with all the northern earls and lords
    Intend here to besiege you in your castle: 345
    She is hard by with twenty thousand men;
    And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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: 350
    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.
  • Marquess of Montague. Brother, I go; I’ll win them, fear it not: 355
    And thus most humbly I do take my leave.
    Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles,
    You are come to Sandal in a happy hour; 360
    The army of the queen mean to besiege us.
  • Sir John Mortimer. She shall not need; we’ll meet her in the field.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). What, with five thousand men?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need:
    A woman’s general; what should we fear? 365

[A march afar off]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). I hear their drums: let’s set our men in order,
    And issue forth and bid them battle straight.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Five men to twenty! though the odds be great,
    I doubt not, uncle, of our victory. 370
    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?

[Alarum. Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act I, Scene 3(Henry VI Part III)

Field of battle betwixt Sandal Castle and Wakefield.      

[Alarums. Enter RUTLAND and his Tutor]

  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. Ah, whither shall I fly to ‘scape their hands?
    Ah, tutor, look where bloody Clifford comes!

[Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers]

  • Lord Clifford. Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life.
    As for the brat of this accursed duke, 380
    Whose father slew my father, he shall die.
  • Tutor of Rutland. And I, my lord, will bear him company.
  • Lord Clifford. Soldiers, away with him!
  • Tutor of Rutland. Ah, Clifford, murder not this innocent child,
    Lest thou be hated both of God and man! 385

[Exit, dragged off by Soldiers]

  • Lord Clifford. How now! is he dead already? or is it fear
    That makes him close his eyes? I’ll open them.
  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. So looks the pent-up lion o’er the wretch
    That trembles under his devouring paws; 390
    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. 395
    I am too mean a subject for thy wrath:
    Be thou revenged on men, and let me live.
  • Lord Clifford. In vain thou speak’st, poor boy; my father’s blood
    Hath stopp’d the passage where thy words should enter.
  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. Then let my father’s blood open it again: 400
    He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.
  • Lord 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, 405
    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. 410

[Lifting his hand]

  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. O, let me pray before I take my death!
    To thee I pray; sweet Clifford, pity me!
  • Lord Clifford. Such pity as my rapier’s point affords. 415
  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. I never did thee harm: why wilt thou slay me?
  • Lord Clifford. Thy father hath.
  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. But ’twas ere I was born.
    Thou hast one son; for his sake pity me,
    Lest in revenge thereof, sith God is just, 420
    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.
  • Lord Clifford. No cause! 425
    Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.

[Stabs him]

  • Edmond, Earl of Rutland. Di faciant laudis summa sit ista tuae!


  • Lord Clifford. Plantagenet! I come, Plantagenet! 430
    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.

[Exit](Henry VI Part III)

      Act I, Scene 4(Henry VI Part III)

Another part of the field.      

[Alarum. Enter YORK]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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. 440
    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!’ 445
    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,
    Richard cried ‘Charge! and give no foot of ground!’ 450
    And cried ‘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 455
    And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
    [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: 460
    The sands are number’d that make up my life;
    Here must I stay, and here my life must end.
    PRINCE EDWARD, and Soldiers]
    Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland, 465
    I dare your quenchless fury to more rage:
    I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
  • Lord Clifford. Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm,
    With downright payment, show’d unto my father. 470
    Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car,
    And made an evening at the noontide prick.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 475
    Scorning whate’er you can afflict me with.
    Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?
  • Lord 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, 480
    Breathe out invectives ‘gainst the officers.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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 485
    Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this!
  • Lord Clifford. I will not bandy with thee word for word,
    But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one.
  • Queen Margaret. Hold, valiant Clifford! for a thousand causes
    I would prolong awhile the traitor’s life. 490
    Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northumberland.
  • Earl of 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, 495
    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.

[They lay hands on YORK, who struggles]

  • Lord Clifford. Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin. 500
  • Earl of Northumberland. So doth the cony struggle in the net.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). So triumph thieves upon their conquer’d booty;
    So true men yield, with robbers so o’ermatch’d.
  • Earl of Northumberland. What would your grace have done unto him now?
  • Queen Margaret. Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland, 505
    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, 510
    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 515
    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; 520
    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. 525
    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. 530
    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.
    [Putting a paper crown on his head] 535
    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? 540
    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? 545
    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.
  • Lord Clifford. That is my office, for my father’s sake.
  • Queen Margaret. Nay, stay; lets hear the orisons he makes. 550
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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! 555
    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. 560
    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, 565
    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; 570
    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, 575
    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? 580
    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, 585
    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. 590
  • Earl of Northumberland. Beshrew me, but his passion moves me so
    That hardly can I cheque my eyes from tears.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 595
    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: 600
    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,
    And say ‘Alas, it was a piteous deed!’
    There, take the crown, and, with the crown, my curse; 605
    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!
  • Earl of Northumberland. Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin, 610
    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. 615
  • Lord Clifford. Here’s for my oath, here’s for my father’s death.

[Stabbing him]

  • Queen Margaret. And here’s to right our gentle-hearted king.

[Stabbing him]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Open Thy gate of mercy, gracious God! 620
    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.

[Flourish. Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act II, Scene 1(Henry VI Part III)

A plain near Mortimer’s Cross in Herefordshire.      

[A march. Enter EDWARD, RICHARD, and their power]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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; 630
    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 III (Duke of Gloucester). I cannot joy, until I be resolved 635
    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; 640
    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: 645
    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! 650
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 655
    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.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). ‘Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
    I think it cites us, brother, to the field, 660
    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 665
    Upon my target three fair-shining suns.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Nay, bear three daughters: by your leave I speak it,
    You love the breeder better than the male.
    [Enter a Messenger] 
    But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell 670
    Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue?
  • 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!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). O, speak no more, for I have heard too much. 675
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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; 680
    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, 685
    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: 690
    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.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon, 695
    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. 700
    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! 705
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 710
    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. 715
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
    His dukedom and his chair with me is left.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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; 720
    Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.

[March. Enter WARWICK, MONTAGUE, and their army]

  • Earl of Warwick. How now, fair lords! What fare? what news abroad?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Great Lord of Warwick, if we should recount
    Our baleful news, and at each word’s deliverance 725
    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!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). O Warwick, Warwick! that Plantagenet,
    Which held three dearly as his soul’s redemption, 730
    Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.
  • Earl of 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, 735
    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, 740
    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 745
    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, 750
    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, 755
    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. 760
    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; 765
    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.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick? 770
    And when came George from Burgundy to England?
  • Earl of 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. 775
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). ‘Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled:
    Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
    But ne’er till now his scandal of retire.
  • Earl of Warwick. Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear;
    For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine 780
    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 III (Duke of Gloucester). I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame me not: 785
    ‘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? 790
    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.
  • Earl of Warwick. Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out;
    And therefore comes my brother Montague. 795
    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, 800
    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: 805
    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, 810
    And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
    And once again cry ‘Charge upon our foes!’
    But never once again turn back and fly.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak:
    Ne’er may he live to see a sunshine day, 815
    That cries ‘Retire,’ if Warwick bid him stay.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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!
  • Earl of Warwick. No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York: 820
    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. 825
    King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
    Stay we no longer, dreaming of renown,
    But sound the trumpets, and about our task.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel,
    As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds, 830
    I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Then strike up drums: God and Saint George for us!

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Earl of Warwick. How now! what news?
  • Messenger. The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me, 835
    The queen is coming with a puissant host;
    And craves your company for speedy counsel.
  • Earl of Warwick. Why then it sorts, brave warriors, let’s away.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act II, Scene 2(Henry VI Part III)

Before York.      

[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET,] [p]PRINCE EDWARD, CLIFFORD, and NORTHUMBERLAND, with [p]drum and trumpets]

  • 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: 845
    Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?
  • 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. 850
  • Lord 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? 855
    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. 860
    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, 865
    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, 870
    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! 875
    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’? 880
    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.
  • Henry VI. Full well hath Clifford play’d the orator, 885
    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? 890
    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. 895
    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: 900
    Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently.
    Edward, kneel down.
  • Henry VI. Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight;
    And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right.
  • Prince Edward. My gracious father, by your kingly leave, 905
    I’ll draw it as apparent to the crown,
    And in that quarrel use it to the death.
  • Lord Clifford. Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Royal commanders, be in readiness: 910
    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. 915
  • Lord 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.
  • Henry VI. Why, that’s my fortune too; therefore I’ll stay.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Be it with resolution then to fight. 920
  • Prince Edward. My royal father, cheer these noble lords
    And hearten those that fight in your defence:
    Unsheathe your sword, good father; cry ‘Saint George!’
    NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, and Soldiers] 925
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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 930
    Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 935
    Have caused him, by new act of parliament,
    To blot out me, and put his own son in.
  • Lord Clifford. And reason too:
    Who should succeed the father but the son?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak! 940
  • Lord Clifford. Ay, crook-back, here I stand to answer thee,
    Or any he the proudest of thy sort.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). ‘Twas you that kill’d young Rutland, was it not?
  • Lord Clifford. Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). For God’s sake, lords, give signal to the fight. 945
  • Earl of 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.
  • Earl of Warwick. Then ’twas my turn to fly, and now ’tis thine. 950
  • Lord Clifford. You said so much before, and yet you fled.
  • Earl of Warwick. ‘Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.
  • Earl of Northumberland. No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.
    Break off the parley; for scarce I can refrain 955
    The execution of my big-swoln heart
    Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.
  • Lord Clifford. I slew thy father, call’st thou him a child?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward,
    As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland; 960
    But ere sunset I’ll make thee curse the deed.
  • Henry VI. Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.
  • Queen Margaret. Defy them then, or else hold close thy lips.
  • Henry VI. I prithee, give no limits to my tongue:
    I am a king, and privileged to speak. 965
  • Lord Clifford. My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
    Cannot be cured by words; therefore be still.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword:
    By him that made us all, I am resolved
    that Clifford’s manhood lies upon his tongue. 970
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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.
  • Earl of Warwick. If thou deny, their blood upon thy head;
    For York in justice puts his armour on. 975
  • Prince Edward. If that be right which Warwick says is right,
    There is no wrong, but every thing is right.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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; 980
    But like a foul mis-shapen stigmatic,
    Mark’d by the destinies to be avoided,
    As venom toads, or lizards’ dreadful stings.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Iron of Naples hid with English gilt,
    Whose father bears the title of a king,— 985
    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?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns,
    To make this shameless callet know herself. 990
    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, 995
    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, 1000
    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; 1005
    And we, in pity of the gentle king,
    Had slipp’d our claim until another age.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). 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; 1010
    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.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). And, in this resolution, I defy thee; 1015
    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.
  • Queen Margaret. Stay, Edward. 1020
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). No, wrangling woman, we’ll no longer stay:
    These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act II, Scene 3(Henry VI Part III)

A field of battle between Towton and Saxton, in      


[Alarum. Excursions. Enter WARWICK]

  • Earl of 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. 1030

[Enter EDWARD, running]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle death!
    For this world frowns, and Edward’s sun is clouded.
  • Earl of Warwick. How now, my lord! what hap? what hope of good?

[Enter GEORGE]

  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). 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?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings;
    And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit. 1040


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 1045
    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. 1050
  • Earl of 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 1055
    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. 1060
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 1065
    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, 1070
    Where’er it be, in heaven or in earth.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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. 1075
  • Earl of Warwick. Away, away! Once more, sweet lords farewell.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). 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 1080
    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.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act II, Scene 4(Henry VI Part III)

Another part of the field.      

[Excursions. Enter RICHARD and CLIFFORD]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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. 1090
  • Lord 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 1095
    To execute the like upon thyself;
    And so, have at thee!

[They fight. WARWICK comes; CLIFFORD flies]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Nay Warwick, single out some other chase;
    For I myself will hunt this wolf to death. 1100

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act II, Scene 5(Henry VI Part III)

Another part of the field.      

[Alarum. Enter KING HENRY VI alone]

  • 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, 1105
    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: 1110
    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. 1115
    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. 1120
    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, 1125
    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; 1130
    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; 1135
    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, 1140
    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, 1145
    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. 1150
    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, 1155
    When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.
    [Alarum. Enter a Son that has killed his father,] 
    dragging in the dead body]
  • Son. Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
    This man, whom hand to hand I slew in fight, 1160
    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, 1165
    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; 1170
    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; 1175
    And no more words till they have flow’d their fill.
  • 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; 1180
    And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,
    Be blind with tears, and break o’ercharged with grief.

[Enter a Father that has killed his son, bringing in the body]

  • Father. Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me,
    Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold: 1185
    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, 1190
    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, 1195
    This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!
    O boy, thy father gave thee life too soon,
    And hath bereft thee of thy life too late!
  • Henry VI. Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
    O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds! 1200
    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: 1205
    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 1210
    Shed seas of tears and ne’er be satisfied!
  • 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? 1215
  • Henry VI. Was ever king so grieved for subjects’ woe?
    Much is your sorrow; mine ten times so much.
  • Son. I’ll bear thee hence, where I may weep my fill.

[Exit with the body]

  • Father. These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet; 1220
    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, 1225
    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.

[Exit with the body]

  • Henry VI. Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care, 1230
    Here sits a king more woful than you are.
    [Alarums: excursions. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE] 
  • Prince Edward. Fly, father, fly! for all your friends are fled,
    And Warwick rages like a chafed bull: 1235
    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, 1240
    And bloody steel grasp’d in their ireful hands,
    Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain.
  • Duke of Exeter. Away! for vengeance comes along with them:
    Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed;
    Or else come after: I’ll away before. 1245
  • 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!

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act II, Scene 6(Henry VI Part III)

Another part of the field.      

[A loud alarum. Enter CLIFFORD, wounded]

  • Lord 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; 1255
    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? 1260
    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, 1265
    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. 1270
    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; 1275
    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. 1280
    [He faints] 
    [Alarum and retreat. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD,] 
    MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause,
    And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks. 1285
    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? 1290
  • Earl of 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.

[CLIFFORD groans, and dies]EDWARD. Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A deadly groan, like life and death’s departing.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). See who it is: and, now the battle’s ended,
    If friend or foe, let him be gently used.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Revoke that doom of mercy, for ’tis Clifford;
    Who not contented that he lopp’d the branch 1300
    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.
  • Earl of Warwick. From off the gates of York fetch down the head, 1305
    Your father’s head, which Clifford placed there;
    Instead whereof let this supply the room:
    Measure for measure must be answered.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Bring forth that fatal screech-owl to our house,
    That nothing sung but death to us and ours: 1310
    Now death shall stop his dismal threatening sound,
    And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.
  • Earl of 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, 1315
    And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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. 1320
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). If so thou think’st, vex him with eager words.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.
  • Earl of Warwick. Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). While we devise fell tortures for thy faults. 1325
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Thou pitied’st Rutland; I will pity thee.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Where’s Captain Margaret, to fence you now?
  • Earl of Warwick. They mock thee, Clifford: swear as thou wast wont.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, not an oath? nay, then the world goes hard 1330
    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 1335
    issuing blood
    Stifle the villain whose unstanched thirst
    York and young Rutland could not satisfy.
  • Earl of Warwick. Ay, but he’s dead: off with the traitor’s head,
    And rear it in the place your father’s stands. 1340
    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; 1345
    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; 1350
    And then to Brittany I’ll cross the sea,
    To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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 1355
    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.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester; 1360
    For Gloucester’s dukedom is too ominous.
  • Earl of Warwick. Tut, that’s a foolish observation:
    Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London,
    To see these honours in possession.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act III, Scene 1(Henry VI Part III)

A forest in the north of England.      

[Enter two Keepers, with cross-bows in their hands]

  • 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. 1370
  • Second Keeper. I’ll stay above the hill, so both may shoot.
  • 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, 1375
    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.

[Enter KING HENRY VI, disguised, with a prayerbook]

  • Henry VI. From Scotland am I stol’n, even of pure love, 1380
    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, 1385
    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. 1390
  • 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.
  • Henry VI. My queen and son are gone to France for aid; 1395
    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, 1400
    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; 1405
    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, 1410
    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, 1415
    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, 1420
    Art then forsaken, as thou went’st forlorn!
  • Second Keeper. Say, what art thou that talk’st of kings and queens?
  • 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? 1425
  • Second Keeper. Ay, but thou talk’st as if thou wert a 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?
  • Henry VI. My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
    Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, 1430
    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, 1435
    You are the king King Edward hath deposed;
    And we his subjects sworn in all allegiance
    Will apprehend you as his enemy.
  • Henry VI. But did you never swear, and break an oath?
  • Second Keeper. No, never such an oath; nor will not now. 1440
  • Henry VI. Where did you dwell when I was King of England?
  • Second Keeper. Here in this country, where we now remain.
  • 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: 1445
    And tell me, then, have you not broke your oaths?
  • First Keeper. No;
    For we were subjects but while you were king.
  • Henry VI. Why, am I dead? do I not breathe a man?
    Ah, simple men, you know not what you swear! 1450
    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; 1455
    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. 1460
  • First Keeper. We are true subjects to the king, King Edward.
  • Henry VI. So would you be again to Henry,
    If he were seated as King Edward is.
  • First Keeper. We charge you, in God’s name, and the king’s,
    To go with us unto the officers. 1465
  • 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.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act III, Scene 2(Henry VI Part III)

London. The palace.      


  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 1475
    Because in quarrel of the house of York
    The worthy gentleman did lose his life.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Your highness shall do well to grant her suit;
    It were dishonour to deny it her.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). It were no less; but yet I’ll make a pause. 1480
  • Richard III (Duke of 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.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [Aside to GLOUCESTER] He knows the game: how true
    he keeps the wind! 1485
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] Silence!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Widow, we will consider of your suit;
    And come some other time to know our mind.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Right gracious lord, I cannot brook delay:
    May it please your highness to resolve me now; 1490
    And what your pleasure is, shall satisfy me.
  • Richard III (Duke of 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. 1495
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [Aside to GLOUCESTER] I fear her not, unless she
    chance to fall.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] God forbid that! for he’ll
    take vantages.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). How many children hast thou, widow? tell me. 1500
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [Aside to GLOUCESTER] I think he means to beg a
    child of her.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] Nay, whip me then: he’ll rather
    give her two.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Three, my most gracious lord. 1505
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] You shall have four, if you’ll
    be ruled by him.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). ‘Twere pity they should lose their father’s lands.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it then.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Lords, give us leave: I’ll try this widow’s wit. 1510
  • Richard III (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). Now tell me, madam, do you love your children? 1515
  • Queen Elizabeth. Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). And would you not do much to do them good?
  • Queen Elizabeth. To do them good, I would sustain some harm.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Then get your husband’s lands, to do them good.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Therefore I came unto your majesty. 1520
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). I’ll tell you how these lands are to be got.
  • Queen Elizabeth. So shall you bind me to your highness’ service.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What service wilt thou do me, if I give them?
  • Queen Elizabeth. What you command, that rests in me to do.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But you will take exceptions to my boon. 1525
  • Queen Elizabeth. No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to ask.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Why, then I will do what your grace commands.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] He plies her hard; and much rain
    wears the marble. 1530
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [Aside to GLOUCESTER] As red as fire! nay, then
    her wax must melt.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Why stops my lord, shall I not hear my task?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). An easy task; ’tis but to love a king.
  • Queen Elizabeth. That’s soon perform’d, because I am a subject. 1535
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, then, thy husband’s lands I freely give thee.
  • Queen Elizabeth. I take my leave with many thousand thanks.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] The match is made; she seals it
    with a curtsy.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But stay thee, ’tis the fruits of love I mean. 1540
  • Queen Elizabeth. The fruits of love I mean, my loving liege.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense.
    What love, think’st thou, I sue so much to get?
  • Queen Elizabeth. My love till death, my humble thanks, my prayers;
    That love which virtue begs and virtue grants. 1545
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Why, then you mean not as I thought you did.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But now you partly may perceive my mind.
  • Queen Elizabeth. My mind will never grant what I perceive
    Your highness aims at, if I aim aright. 1550
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.
  • Queen Elizabeth. To tell you plain, I had rather lie in prison.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, then thou shalt not have thy husband’s lands.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Why, then mine honesty shall be my dower;
    For by that loss I will not purchase them. 1555
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Therein thou wrong’st thy children mightily.
  • Queen Elizabeth. 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 ‘ay’ or ‘no.’ 1560
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ay, if thou wilt say ‘ay’ to my request;
    No if thou dost say ‘no’ to my demand.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Then, no, my lord. My suit is at an end.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] The widow likes him not, she
    knits her brows. 1565
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [Aside to GLOUCESTER] He is the bluntest wooer in
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). [Aside] Her looks do argue her replete with modesty;
    Her words do show her wit incomparable;
    All her perfections challenge sovereignty: 1570
    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?
  • Queen Elizabeth. ‘Tis better said than done, my gracious lord:
    I am a subject fit to jest withal, 1575
    But far unfit to be a sovereign.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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.
  • Queen Elizabeth. And that is more than I will yield unto: 1580
    I know I am too mean to be your queen,
    And yet too good to be your concubine.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). You cavil, widow: I did mean, my queen.
  • Queen Elizabeth. ‘Twill grieve your grace my sons should call you father.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). No more than when my daughters call thee mother. 1585
    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. 1590
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside to CLARENCE] The ghostly father now hath done
    his shrift.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [Aside to GLOUCESTER] When he was made a shriver,
    ’twas for shift.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Brothers, you muse what chat we two have had. 1595
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The widow likes it not, for she looks very sad.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). You’ll think it strange if I should marry her.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). To whom, my lord?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, Clarence, to myself.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). That would be ten days’ wonder at the least. 1600
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). That’s a day longer than a wonder lasts.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). By so much is the wonder in extremes.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Well, jest on, brothers: I can tell you both
    Her suit is granted for her husband’s lands.

[Enter a Nobleman]

  • Nobleman. My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken,
    And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). See that he be convey’d unto the Tower:
    And go we, brothers, to the man that took him,
    To question of his apprehension. 1610
    Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honourably.

[Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, Edward will use women honourably.
    Would he were wasted, marrow, bones and all,
    That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring, 1615
    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, 1620
    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, 1625
    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; 1630
    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; 1635
    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 1640
    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; 1645
    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 1650
    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 1655
    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. 1660
    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; 1665
    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. 1670
    Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
    And cry ‘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; 1675
    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, 1680
    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.

[Exit](Henry VI Part III)

      Act III, Scene 3

France. KING LEWIS XI’s palace.      

[Flourish. Enter KING LEWIS XI, his sister BONA,] [p]his Admiral, called BOURBON, PRINCE EDWARD, QUEEN [p]MARGARET, and OXFORD. KING LEWIS XI sits, and [p]riseth up again]

  • King Lewis XI. Fair Queen of England, worthy Margaret, 1690
    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, 1695
    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. 1700
  • King Lewis XI. Why, say, fair queen, whence springs this deep despair?
  • 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: 1705
    [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; 1710
    It shall be eased, if France can yield relief.
  • 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, 1715
    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. 1720
    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; 1725
    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. 1730
  • 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?
  • Queen Margaret. Our Earl of Warwick, Edward’s greatest friend.
  • King Lewis XI. Welcome, brave Warwick! What brings thee to France?

[He descends. She ariseth]

  • Queen Margaret. Ay, now begins a second storm to rise; 1740
    For this is he that moves both wind and tide.
  • Earl of 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; 1745
    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. 1750
  • Queen Margaret. [Aside] If that go forward, Henry’s hope is done.
  • Earl of 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; 1755
    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, 1760
    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, 1765
    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. 1770
  • Earl of Warwick. Injurious Margaret!
  • Prince Edward. And why not queen?
  • Earl of Warwick. Because thy father Henry did usurp;
    And thou no more are prince than she is queen.
  • Earl Oxford. Then Warwick disannuls great John of Gaunt, 1775
    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: 1780
    From these our Henry lineally descends.
  • Earl of 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. 1785
    But for the rest, you tell a pedigree
    Of threescore and two years; a silly time
    To make prescription for a kingdom’s worth.
  • Earl Oxford. Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy liege,
    Whom thou obeyed’st thirty and six years, 1790
    And not bewray thy treason with a blush?
  • Earl of Warwick. Can Oxford, that did ever fence the right,
    Now buckler falsehood with a pedigree?
    For shame! leave Henry, and call Edward king.
  • Earl Oxford. Call him my king by whose injurious doom 1795
    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, 1800
    This arm upholds the house of Lancaster.
  • Earl of 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. 1805

[They stand aloof]

  • 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. 1810
  • Earl of Warwick. Thereon I pawn my credit and mine honour.
  • King Lewis XI. But is he gracious in the people’s eye?
  • Earl of 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 1815
    Unto our sister Bona.
  • Earl of 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, 1820
    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.
  • King Lewis XI. Now, sister, let us hear your firm resolve. 1825
  • Bona. Your grant, or your denial, shall be mine:
    [To WARWICK] 
    Yet I confess that often ere this day,
    When I have heard your king’s desert recounted,
    Mine ear hath tempted judgment to desire. 1830
  • 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 1835
    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. 1840
  • 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. 1845
    Yet shall you have all kindness at my hand
    That your estate requires and mine can yield.
  • Earl of Warwick. Henry now lives in Scotland at his ease,
    Where having nothing, nothing can he lose.
    And as for you yourself, our quondam queen, 1850
    You have a father able to maintain you;
    And better ’twere you troubled him than France.
  • 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, 1855
    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.

[Post blows a horn within]

  • King Lewis XI. Warwick, this is some post to us or thee. 1860

[Enter a Post]

  • Post. [To WARWICK] My lord ambassador, these letters are for you,
    Sent from your brother, Marquess Montague:
    These from our king unto your majesty: 1865
    And, madam, these for you; from whom I know not.

[They all read their letters]

  • Earl Oxford. I like it well that our fair queen and mistress
    Smiles at her news, while Warwick frowns at his. 1870
  • 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.
  • Earl of Warwick. Mine, full of sorrow and heart’s discontent. 1875
  • 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? 1880
  • Queen Margaret. I told your majesty as much before:
    This proveth Edward’s love and Warwick’s honesty.
  • Earl of 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, 1885
    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? 1890
    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, 1895
    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. 1900
  • 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.
  • Earl of Warwick. So much his friend, ay, his unfeigned friend,
    That, if King Lewis vouchsafe to furnish us 1905
    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, 1910
    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? 1915
  • 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.
  • Earl of Warwick. And mine, fair lady Bona, joins with yours.
  • King Lewis XI. And mine with hers, and thine, and Margaret’s. 1920
    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, 1925
    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. 1930
  • Queen Margaret. Tell him, my mourning weeds are laid aside,
    And I am ready to put armour on.
  • Earl of 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. 1935

[Exit Post]

  • 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 1940
    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?
  • Earl of Warwick. This shall assure my constant loyalty,
    That if our queen and this young prince agree, 1945
    I’ll join mine eldest daughter and my joy
    To him forthwith in holy wedlock bands.
  • 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; 1950
    And, with thy hand, thy faith irrevocable,
    That only Warwick’s daughter shall be thine.
  • Prince Edward. Yes, I accept her, for she well deserves it;
    And here, to pledge my vow, I give my hand.

[He gives his hand to WARWICK]

  • 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. 1960

[Exeunt all but WARWICK]

  • Earl of 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. 1965
    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, 1970
    But seek revenge on Edward’s mockery.


      Act IV, Scene 1

London. The palace.      


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now tell me, brother Clarence, what think you
    Of this new marriage with the Lady Grey? 1975
    Hath not our brother made a worthy choice?
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Alas, you know, ’tis far from hence to France;
    How could he stay till Warwick made return?
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. My lords, forbear this talk; here comes the king.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And his well-chosen bride. 1980
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). I mind to tell him plainly what I think.
    [Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, attended; QUEEN] 
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, brother of Clarence, how like you our choice,
    That you stand pensive, as half malcontent? 1985
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). Suppose they take offence without a cause,
    They are but Lewis and Warwick: I am Edward, 1990
    Your king and Warwick’s, and must have my will.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And shall have your will, because our king:
    Yet hasty marriage seldom proveth well.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Yea, brother Richard, are you offended too?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Not I: 1995
    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 (Plantagenet). Setting your scorns and your mislike aside,
    Tell me some reason why the Lady Grey 2000
    Should not become my wife and England’s queen.
    And you too, Somerset and Montague,
    Speak freely what you think.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Then this is mine opinion: that King Lewis
    Becomes your enemy, for mocking him 2005
    About the marriage of the Lady Bona.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And Warwick, doing what you gave in charge,
    Is now dishonoured by this new marriage.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What if both Lewis and Warwick be appeased
    By such invention as I can devise? 2010
  • Marquess of 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.
  • Lord Hastings. Why, knows not Montague that of itself
    England is safe, if true within itself? 2015
  • Marquess of Montague. But the safer when ’tis back’d with France.
  • Lord 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; 2020
    In them and in ourselves our safety lies.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). For this one speech Lord Hastings well deserves
    To have the heir of the Lord Hungerford.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ay, what of that? it was my will and grant;
    And for this once my will shall stand for law. 2025
  • Richard III (Duke of 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. 2030
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). Alas, poor Clarence! is it for a wife
    That thou art malcontent? I will provide thee. 2035
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). Leave me, or tarry, Edward will be king, 2040
    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; 2045
    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.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). My love, forbear to fawn upon their frowns: 2050
    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; 2055
    Which if they do, yet will I keep thee safe,
    And they shall feel the vengeance of my wrath.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] I hear, yet say not much, but think the more.

[Enter a Post]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, messenger, what letters or what news 2060
    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 (Plantagenet). Go to, we pardon thee: therefore, in brief, 2065
    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 2070
    To revel it with him and his new bride.’
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 2075
    I’ll wear the willow garland for his sake.’
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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.
  • Post. ‘Tell him,’ quoth she, ‘my mourning weeds are done, 2080
    And I am ready to put armour on.’
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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: 2085
    ‘Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong,
    And therefore I’ll uncrown him ere’t be long.’
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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. 2090
    But say, is Warwick friends with Margaret?
  • Post. Ay, gracious sovereign; they are so link’d in
    That young Prince Edward marries Warwick’s daughter.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Belike the elder; Clarence will have the younger. 2095
    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. 2100

[Exit CLARENCE, and SOMERSET follows]

  • Richard III (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). Clarence and Somerset both gone to Warwick! 2105
    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: 2110
    Myself in person will straight follow you.
    [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: 2115
    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, 2120
    That I may never have you in suspect.
  • Marquess of Montague. So God help Montague as he proves true!
  • Lord Hastings. And Hastings as he favours Edward’s cause!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, brother Richard, will you stand by us?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, in despite of all that shall withstand you. 2125
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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.


      Act IV, Scene 2

A plain in Warwickshire.      

[Enter WARWICK and OXFORD, with French soldiers]

  • Earl of Warwick. Trust me, my lord, all hitherto goes well;
    The common people by numbers swarm to us.
    [Enter CLARENCE and SOMERSET] 
    But see where Somerset and Clarence come!
    Speak suddenly, my lords, are we all friends? 2135
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Fear not that, my lord.
  • Earl of 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; 2140
    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, 2145
    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 2150
    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, 2155
    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: 2160
    For Warwick and his friends, God and Saint George!


      Act IV, Scene 3

Edward’s camp, near Warwick.      

[Enter three Watchmen, to guard KING EDWARD IV’s tent]

  • First Watchman. Come on, my masters, each man take his stand:
    The king by this is set him down to sleep. 2165
  • 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, 2170
    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 2175
    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. 2180
    If Warwick knew in what estate he stands,
    ‘Tis to be doubted he would waken him.
  • 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? 2185
    French soldiers, silent all]
  • Earl of 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. 2190
  • First Watchman. Who goes there?
  • Second 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] 2195
    [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]
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. What are they that fly there? 2200
  • Earl of Warwick. Richard and Hastings: let them go; here is The duke.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). The duke! Why, Warwick, when we parted,
    Thou call’dst me king.
  • Earl of Warwick. Ay, but the case is alter’d:
    When you disgraced me in my embassade, 2205
    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, 2210
    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 IV (Plantagenet). Yea, brother of Clarence, are thou here too?
    Nay, then I see that Edward needs must down. 2215
    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. 2220
  • Earl of 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, 2225
    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. 2230
    Now, for a while farewell, good Duke of York.

[They lead him out forcibly]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What fates impose, that men must needs abide;
    It boots not to resist both wind and tide.

[Exit, guarded]

  • Earl Oxford. What now remains, my lords, for us to do
    But march to London with our soldiers?
  • Earl of 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. 2240


      Act IV, Scene 4

London. The palace.      


  • Lord (Earl) 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? 2245
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. What! loss of some pitch’d battle against Warwick?
  • Queen Elizabeth. No, but the loss of his own royal person.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Then is my sovereign slain?
  • Queen Elizabeth. Ay, almost slain, for he is taken prisoner,
    Either betray’d by falsehood of his guard 2250
    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.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. These news I must confess are full of grief; 2255
    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: 2260
    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 2265
    King Edward’s fruit, true heir to the English crown.
  • Lord (Earl) 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, 2270
    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. 2275
    Come, therefore, let us fly while we may fly:
    If Warwick take us we are sure to die.


      Act IV, Scene 5

A park near Middleham Castle In Yorkshire.      


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, my Lord Hastings and Sir William Stanley, 2280
    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, 2285
    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, 2290
    He shall here find his friends with horse and men
    To set him free from his captivity.

[Enter KING EDWARD IV and a Huntsman with him]

  • Huntsman. This way, my lord; for this way lies the game.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Nay, this way, man: see where the huntsmen stand. 2295
    Now, brother of Gloucester, Lord Hastings, and the rest,
    Stand you thus close, to steal the bishop’s deer?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Brother, the time and case requireth haste:
    Your horse stands ready at the park-corner.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But whither shall we then? 2300
  • Lord Hastings. To Lynn, my lord,
    And ship from thence to Flanders.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well guess’d, believe me; for that was my meaning.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Stanley, I will requite thy forwardness.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But wherefore stay we? ’tis no time to talk. 2305
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Huntsman, what say’st thou? wilt thou go along?
  • Huntsman. Better do so than tarry and be hang’d.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come then, away; let’s ha’ no more ado.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Bishop, farewell: shield thee from Warwick’s frown;
    And pray that I may repossess the crown. 2310


      Act IV, Scene 6

London. The Tower.      


  • Henry VI. Master lieutenant, now that God and friends 2315
    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; 2320
    But if an humble prayer may prevail,
    I then crave pardon of your majesty.
  • 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; 2325
    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, 2330
    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 2335
    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.
  • Earl of Warwick. Your grace hath still been famed for virtuous; 2340
    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. 2345
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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. 2350
  • Earl of Warwick. And I choose Clarence only for protector.
  • 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, 2355
    While I myself will lead a private life
    And in devotion spend my latter days,
    To sin’s rebuke and my Creator’s praise.
  • Earl of Warwick. What answers Clarence to his sovereign’s will?
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). That he consents, if Warwick yield consent; 2360
    For on thy fortune I repose myself.
  • Earl of 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, 2365
    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.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). What else? and that succession be determined. 2370
  • Earl of Warwick. Ay, therein Clarence shall not want his part.
  • 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; 2375
    For, till I see them here, by doubtful fear
    My joy of liberty is half eclipsed.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). It shall be done, my sovereign, with all speed.
  • Henry VI. My Lord of Somerset, what youth is that,
    Of whom you seem to have so tender care? 2380
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. My liege, it is young Henry, earl of Richmond.
  • Henry VI. Come hither, England’s hope.
    [Lays his hand on his head] 
    If secret powers
    Suggest but truth to my divining thoughts, 2385
    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. 2390
    Make much of him, my lords, for this is he
    Must help you more than you are hurt by me.

[Enter a Post]

  • Earl of Warwick. What news, my friend?
  • Post. That Edward is escaped from your brother, 2395
    And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.
  • Earl of Warwick. Unsavoury news! but how made he escape?
  • Post. He was convey’d by Richard Duke of Gloucester
    And the Lord Hastings, who attended him
    In secret ambush on the forest side 2400
    And from the bishop’s huntsmen rescued him;
    For hunting was his daily exercise.
  • Earl of 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. 2405


  • Duke/Earl of 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 2410
    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, 2415
    Till storms be past of civil enmity.
  • Earl Oxford. Ay, for if Edward repossess the crown,
    ‘Tis like that Richmond with the rest shall down.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. It shall be so; he shall to Brittany.
    Come, therefore, let’s about it speedily. 2420


      Act IV, Scene 7

Before York.      

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,] [p]HASTINGS, and Soldiers]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, brother Richard, Lord Hastings, and the rest,
    Yet thus far fortune maketh us amends, 2425
    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 2430
    From Ravenspurgh haven before the gates of York,
    But that we enter, as into our dukedom?
  • Richard III (Duke of 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. 2435
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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.
  • Lord Hastings. My liege, I’ll knock once more to summon them.

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

  • Mayor of York. 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 (Plantagenet). But, master mayor, if Henry be your king,
    Yet Edward at the least is Duke of York. 2445
  • Mayor of York. True, my good lord; I know you for no less.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, and I challenge nothing but my dukedom,
    As being well content with that alone.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] But when the fox hath once got in his nose,
    He’ll soon find means to make the body follow. 2450
  • Lord Hastings. Why, master mayor, why stand you in a doubt?
    Open the gates; we are King Henry’s friends.
  • Mayor of York. Ay, say you so? the gates shall then be open’d.

[They descend]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A wise stout captain, and soon persuaded! 2455
  • Lord 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.

[Enter the Mayor and two Aldermen, below]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 2465
    And all those friends that deign to follow me.

[March. Enter MONTGOMERY, with drum and soldiers]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery,
    Our trusty friend, unless I be deceived.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Welcome, Sir John! But why come you in arms? 2470
  • Marquess of Montague. To help King Edward in his time of storm,
    As every loyal subject ought to do.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Thanks, good Montgomery; but we now forget
    Our title to the crown and only claim
    Our dukedom till God please to send the rest. 2475
  • Marquess of 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.

[The drum begins to march]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Nay, stay, Sir John, awhile, and we’ll debate 2480
    By what safe means the crown may be recover’d.
  • Marquess of 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: 2485
    Why shall we fight, if you pretend no title?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, brother, wherefore stand you on nice points?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). When we grow stronger, then we’ll make our claim:
    Till then, ’tis wisdom to conceal our meaning.
  • Lord Hastings. Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule. 2490
  • Richard III (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). Then be it as you will; for ’tis my right,
    And Henry but usurps the diadem. 2495
  • Marquess of Montague. Ay, now my sovereign speaketh like himself;
    And now will I be Edward’s champion.
  • Lord Hastings. Sound trumpet; Edward shall be here proclaim’d:
    Come, fellow-soldier, make thou proclamation.


  • Soldier. Edward the Fourth, by the grace of God, king of
    England and France, and lord of Ireland, &c.
  • Marquess of Montague. And whosoe’er gainsays King Edward’s right,
    By this I challenge him to single fight.

[Throws down his gauntlet]

  • All. Long live Edward the Fourth!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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 2510
    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! 2515
    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.


      Act IV, Scene 8

London. The palace.      


  • Earl of 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; 2525
    And many giddy people flock to him.
  • Henry VI. Let’s levy men, and beat him back again.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). A little fire is quickly trodden out;
    Which, being suffer’d, rivers cannot quench.
  • Earl of Warwick. In Warwickshire I have true-hearted friends, 2530
    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, 2535
    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, 2540
    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. 2545
  • Henry VI. Farewell, my Hector, and my Troy’s true hope.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). In sign of truth, I kiss your highness’ hand.
  • Henry VI. Well-minded Clarence, be thou fortunate!
  • Marquess of Montague. Comfort, my lord; and so I take my leave.
  • Earl Oxford. And thus I seal my truth, and bid adieu. 2550
  • Henry VI. Sweet Oxford, and my loving Montague,
    And all at once, once more a happy farewell.
  • Earl of Warwick. Farewell, sweet lords: let’s meet at Coventry.

[Exeunt all but KING HENRY VI and EXETER]

  • Henry VI. Here at the palace I will rest awhile. 2555
    Cousin of Exeter, what thinks your lordship?
    Methinks the power that Edward hath in field
    Should not be able to encounter mine.
  • Duke of Exeter. The doubt is that he will seduce the rest.
  • Henry VI. That’s not my fear; my meed hath got me fame: 2560
    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; 2565
    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: 2570
    And when the lion fawns upon the lamb,
    The lamb will never cease to follow him.

[Shout within. ‘A Lancaster! A Lancaster!’]

  • Duke of Exeter. Hark, hark, my lord! what shouts are these?

[Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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 shall suck them dry,
    And swell so much the higher by their ebb. 2580
    Hence with him to the Tower; let him not speak.
    [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, 2585
    Cold biting winter mars our hoped-for hay.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Away betimes, before his forces join,
    And take the great-grown traitor unawares:
    Brave warriors, march amain towards Coventry.


      Act V, Scene 1


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

  • Earl of 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. 2595
  • Earl of 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.


  • Earl of Warwick. Say, Somerville, what says my loving son? 2600
    And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. At Southam I did leave him with his forces,
    And do expect him here some two hours hence.

[Drum heard]

  • Earl of Warwick. Then Clarence is at hand, I hear his drum. 2605
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies:
    The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.
  • Earl of Warwick. Who should that be? belike, unlook’d-for friends.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.
    [March: flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,] 2610
    and soldiers]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). See how the surly Warwick mans the wall!
  • Earl of Warwick. O unbid spite! is sportful Edward come?
    Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced, 2615
    That we could hear no news of his repair?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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. 2620
  • Earl of 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.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I thought, at least, he would have said the king; 2625
    Or did he make the jest against his will?
  • Earl of Warwick. Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give:
    I’ll do thee service for so good a gift.
  • Earl of Warwick. ‘Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother. 2630
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why then ’tis mine, if but by Warwick’s gift.
  • Earl of 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 (Plantagenet). But Warwick’s king is Edward’s prisoner: 2635
    And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this:
    What is the body when the head is off?
  • Richard III (Duke of 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! 2640
    You left poor Henry at the Bishop’s palace,
    And, ten to one, you’ll meet him in the Tower.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). ‘Tis even so; yet you are Warwick still.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, Warwick, take the time; kneel down, kneel down:
    Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools. 2645
  • Earl of 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 (Plantagenet). Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,
    This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair 2650
    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 drum and colours]

  • Earl of Warwick. O cheerful colours! see where Oxford comes! 2655
  • Earl Oxford. Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The gates are open, let us enter too.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). So other foes may set upon our backs.
    Stand we in good array; for they no doubt 2660
    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.
  • Earl of Warwick. O, welcome, Oxford! for we want thy help.

[Enter MONTAGUE with drum and colours]

  • Marquess of Montague. Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason
    Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). The harder match’d, the greater victory: 2670
    My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.

[Enter SOMERSET, with drum and colours]

  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset, 2675
    Have sold their lives unto the house of York;
    And thou shalt be the third if this sword hold.

[Enter CLARENCE, with drum and colours]

  • Earl of Warwick. And lo, where George of Clarence sweeps along,
    Of force enough to bid his brother battle; 2680
    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.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Father of Warwick, know you what this means?
    [Taking his red rose out of his hat] 2685
    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, 2690
    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. 2695
    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— 2700
    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, 2705
    For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now welcome more, and ten times more beloved,
    Than if thou never hadst deserved our hate.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Welcome, good Clarence; this is brotherlike.
  • Earl of Warwick. O passing traitor, perjured and unjust! 2710
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight?
    Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?
  • Earl of Warwick. Alas, I am not coop’d here for defence!
    I will away towards Barnet presently,
    And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou darest. 2715
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Yes, Warwick, Edward dares, and leads the way.
    Lords, to the field; Saint George and victory!
    [Exeunt King Edward and his company. March. Warwick] 
    and his company follow]

      Act V, Scene 2

A field of battle near Barnet.      

[Alarum and excursions. Enter KING EDWARD IV, bringing] [p]forth WARWICK wounded]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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. 2725


  • Earl of 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. 2730
    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, 2735
    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: 2740
    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! 2745
    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. 2750


  • Duke/Earl of 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! 2755
  • Earl of 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 2760
    That glues my lips and will not let me speak.
    Come quickly, Montague, or I am dead.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Ah, Warwick! Montague hath breathed his last;
    And to the latest gasp cried out for Warwick,
    And said ‘Commend me to my valiant brother.’ 2765
    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!’ 2770
  • Earl of Warwick. Sweet rest his soul! Fly, lords, and save yourselves;
    For Warwick bids you all farewell to meet in heaven.


  • Earl Oxford. Away, away, to meet the queen’s great power!

[Here they bear away his body. Exeunt]

      Act V, Scene 3

Another part of the field.      

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

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 2780
    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 2785
    And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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. 2790
  • Richard III (Duke of 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 (Plantagenet). We are advertised by our loving friends 2795
    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. 2800
    Strike up the drum; cry ‘Courage!’ and away.


      Act V, Scene 4

Plains near Tewksbury.      


  • Queen Margaret. Great lords, wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, 2805
    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 2810
    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? 2815
    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? 2820
    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, 2825
    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? 2830
    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, 2835
    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. 2840
    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 2845
    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 2850
    And make him of like spirit to himself.
    If any such be here—as God forbid!—
    Let him depart before we need his help.
  • Earl Oxford. Women and children of so high a courage,
    And warriors faint! why, ’twere perpetual shame. 2855
    O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
    Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
    To bear his image and renew his glories!
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. And he that will not fight for such a hope.
    Go home to bed, and like the owl by day, 2860
    If he arise, be mock’d and wonder’d at.
  • Queen Margaret. Thanks, gentle Somerset; sweet Oxford, thanks.
  • Prince Edward. And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand. 2865
    Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
  • Earl Oxford. I thought no less: it is his policy
    To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. But he’s deceived; we are in readiness.
  • Queen Margaret. This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness. 2870
  • Earl Oxford. Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.
    [Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,] 
    CLARENCE, and soldiers]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood,
    Which, by the heavens’ assistance and your strength, 2875
    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 2880
    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, 2885
    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.

[Alarum. Retreat. Excursions. Exeunt]

      Act V, Scene 5

Another part of the field.      

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE,] [p]and soldiers; with QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and [p]SOMERSET, prisoners]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now here a period of tumultuous broils.
    Away with Oxford to Hames Castle straight: 2895
    For Somerset, off with his guilty head.
    Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.
  • Earl Oxford. For my part, I’ll not trouble thee with words.
  • Duke/Earl of 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 IV (Plantagenet). Is proclamation made, that who finds Edward
    Shall have a high reward, and he his life?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). It is: and lo, where youthful Edward comes! 2905

[Enter soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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, 2910
    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, 2915
    Which traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.
  • Queen Margaret. Ah, that thy father had been so resolved!
  • Richard III (Duke of 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; 2920
    His currish riddles sort not with this place.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). By heaven, brat, I’ll plague ye for that word.
  • Queen Margaret. Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). For God’s sake, take away this captive scold.
  • Prince Edward. Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather. 2925
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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 2930
    I am your better, traitors as ye are:
    And thou usurp’st my father’s right and mine.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Take that, thou likeness of this railer here.

Henry VI Part III

[Stabs him]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sprawl’st thou? take that, to end thy agony.

[Stabs him]

  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). And there’s for twitting me with perjury.

[Stabs him]

  • Queen Margaret. O, kill me too!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Marry, and shall. 2940

[Offers to kill her]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Hold, Richard, hold; for we have done too much.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why should she live, to fill the world with words?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What, doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother; 2945
    I’ll hence to London on a serious matter:
    Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). What? what?
  • Richard III (Duke of 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: 2955
    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. 2960
    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, 2965
    Look in his youth to have him so cut off
    As, deathmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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: 2970
    What, wilt thou not? then, Clarence, do it thou.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.
  • Queen Margaret. Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Didst thou not hear me swear I would not do it?
  • Queen Margaret. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself: 2975
    ‘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. 2980
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Away, I say; I charge ye, bear her hence.
  • Queen Margaret. So come to you and yours, as to this Prince!

[Exit, led out forcibly]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Where’s Richard gone?
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). To London, all in post; and, as I guess, 2985
    To make a bloody supper in the Tower.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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: 2990
    By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

      Act V, Scene 6(Henry VI Part III)

London. The Tower.      

[Enter KING HENRY VI and GLOUCESTER, with the] [p]Lieutenant, on the walls]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Good day, my lord. What, at your book so hard? 2995
  • 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 ‘good lord.’
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer. 3000

[Exit Lieutenant]

  • 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? 3005
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
    The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
  • 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, 3010
    Have now the fatal object in my eye
    Where my poor young was limed, was caught and kill’d.
  • Richard III (Duke of 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. 3015
  • 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. 3020
    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?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Think’st thou I am an executioner? 3025
  • Henry VI. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art:
    If murdering innocents be executing,
    Why, then thou art an executioner.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thy son I kill’d for his presumption.
  • Henry VI. Hadst thou been kill’d when first thou didst presume, 3030
    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— 3035
    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; 3040
    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, 3045
    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, 3050
    Thou camest—
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I’ll hear no more: die, prophet in thy speech:
    [Stabs him] 
    For this amongst the rest, was I ordain’d.
  • Henry VI. Ay, and for much more slaughter after this. 3055
    God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!


  • Richard III (Duke of 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! 3060
    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:
    [Stabs him again] 3065
    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, 3070
    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. 3075
    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 3080
    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, 3085
    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 3090
    And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.

[Exit, with the body](Henry VI Part III)

      Act V, Scene 7(Henry VI Part III)

London. The palace.        

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, QUEEN ELIZABETH,] [p]CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, a Nurse with the [p]young Prince, and Attendants]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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 3100
    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, 3105
    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. 3110
    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. 3115
  • Richard III (Duke of 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. 3120
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Clarence and Gloucester, love my lovely queen;
    And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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. 3125
  • Richard III (Duke of 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,]
    And cried ‘all hail!’ when as he meant all harm.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now am I seated as my soul delights, 3130
    Having my country’s peace and brothers’ loves.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of 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. 3135
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 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! 3140
    For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy.

[Exeunt](Henry VI Part III)

Sad Poetry

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