III King Henry VI


KING HENRY the Sixth.

his son. (PRINCE EDWARD:)



Duke of York. (YORK:)
EDWARD (EDWARD:) Earl of March,
afterwards King Edward IV.

EDMUND Earl of Rutland, (RUTLAND:)

GEORGE (GEORGE:) afterwards Duke of
Clarence (CLARENCE:)

RICHARD (RICHARD:) afterwards Duke of
Gloucester, (GLOUCESTER:)
| his sons.


| uncles to the Duke of York.
HENRY Earl of Richmond, a youth (HENRY OF RICHMOND:).
LORD RIVERS brother to Lady Grey. (RIVERS:)



Tutor to Rutland. (Tutor:)
Mayor of York. (Mayor:)
Lieutenant of the Tower. (Lieutenant:)
A Nobleman. (Nobleman:)
Two Keepers.
(First Keeper:)
(Second Keeper:)
A Huntsman. (Huntsman:)
A Son that has killed his father. (Son:)
A Father that has killed his son. (Father:)
LADY GREY afterwards Queen to Edward IV. (QUEEN ELIZABETH:)
BONA sister to the French Queen.
Soldiers, Attendants, Messengers, Watchmen, &c.
(First Messenger:)
(Second Messenger:)
(First Watchman:)
(Second Watchman:)
(Third Watchman:)


England and France.

Act I

Scene I London. The Parliament-house.

MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers]
WARWICK I wonder how the king escaped our hands.
YORK While we pursued the horsemen of the north,
He slily stole away and left his men:
Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,
Cheer'd up the drooping army; and himself,
Lord Clifford and Lord Stafford, all abreast,
Charged our main battle's front, and breaking in
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.
EDWARD Lord Stafford's father, Duke of Buckingham,
Is either slain or wounded dangerously;
I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
That this is true, father, behold his blood.
MONTAGUE And, brother, here's the Earl of Wiltshire's blood,
Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd.
RICHARD Speak thou for me and tell them what I did.
[Throwing down SOMERSET's head]
YORK Richard hath best deserved of all my sons.
But is your grace dead, my Lord of Somerset?
NORFOLK Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!
RICHARD Thus do I hope to shake King Henry's head.
WARWICK And so do I. Victorious Prince of York,
Before I see thee seated in that throne
Which now the house of Lancaster usurps,
I vow by heaven these eyes shall never close.
This is the palace of the fearful king,
And this the regal seat: possess it, York;
For this is thine and not King Henry's heirs'
YORK Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will;
For hither we have broken in by force.
NORFOLK We'll all assist you; he that flies shall die.
YORK Thanks, gentle Norfolk: stay by me, my lords;
And, soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night.
[They go up]
WARWICK And when the king comes, offer no violence,
Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.
YORK The queen this day here holds her parliament,
But little thinks we shall be of her council:
By words or blows here let us win our right.
RICHARD Arm'd as we are, let's stay within this house.
WARWICK The bloody parliament shall this be call'd,
Unless Plantagenet, Duke of York, be king,
And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice
Hath made us by-words to our enemies.
YORK Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute;
I mean to take possession of my right.
WARWICK Neither the king, nor he that loves him best,
The proudest he that holds up Lancaster,
Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells.
I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares:
Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.
KING HENRY VI My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits,
Even in the chair of state: belike he means,
Back'd by the power of Warwick, that false peer,
To aspire unto the crown and reign as king.
Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father.
And thine, Lord Clifford; and you both have vow'd revenge
On him, his sons, his favourites and his friends.
NORTHUMBERLAND If I be not, heavens be revenged on me!
CLIFFORD The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in steel.
WESTMORELAND What, shall we suffer this? let's pluck him down:
My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.
KING HENRY VI Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmoreland.
CLIFFORD Patience is for poltroons, such as he:
He durst not sit there, had your father lived.
My gracious lord, here in the parliament
Let us assail the family of York.
NORTHUMBERLAND Well hast thou spoken, cousin: be it so.
KING HENRY VI Ah, know you not the city favours them,
And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?
EXETER But when the duke is slain, they'll quickly fly.
KING HENRY VI Far be the thought of this from Henry's heart,
To make a shambles of the parliament-house!
Cousin of Exeter, frowns, words and threats
Shall be the war that Henry means to use.
Thou factious Duke of York, descend my throne,
and kneel for grace and mercy at my feet;
I am thy sovereign.
YORK I am thine.
EXETER For shame, come down: he made thee Duke of York.
YORK 'Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was.
EXETER Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
WARWICK Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
In following this usurping Henry.
CLIFFORD Whom should he follow but his natural king?
WARWICK True, Clifford; and that's Richard Duke of York.
KING HENRY VI And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne?
YORK It must and shall be so: content thyself.
WARWICK Be Duke of Lancaster; let him be king.
WESTMORELAND He is both king and Duke of Lancaster;
And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall maintain.
WARWICK And Warwick shall disprove it. You forget
That we are those which chased you from the field
And slew your fathers, and with colours spread
March'd through the city to the palace gates.
NORTHUMBERLAND Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief;
And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
WESTMORELAND Plantagenet, of thee and these thy sons,
Thy kinsman and thy friends, I'll have more lives
Than drops of blood were in my father's veins.
CLIFFORD Urge it no more; lest that, instead of words,
I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
As shall revenge his death before I stir.
WARWICK Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worthless threats!
YORK Will you we show our title to the crown?
If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.
KING HENRY VI What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown?
Thy father was, as thou art, Duke of York;
Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March:
I am the son of Henry the Fifth,
Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop
And seized upon their towns and provinces.
WARWICK Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.
KING HENRY VI The lord protector lost it, and not I:
When I was crown'd I was but nine months old.
RICHARD You are old enough now, and yet, methinks, you lose.
Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.
EDWARD Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.
MONTAGUE Good brother, as thou lovest and honourest arms,
Let's fight it out and not stand cavilling thus.
RICHARD Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will fly.
YORK Sons, peace!
KING HENRY VI Peace, thou! and give King Henry leave to speak.
WARWICK Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him, lords;
And be you silent and attentive too,
For he that interrupts him shall not live.
KING HENRY VI Think'st thou that I will leave my kingly throne,
Wherein my grandsire and my father sat?
No: first shall war unpeople this my realm;
Ay, and their colours, often borne in France,
And now in England to our heart's great sorrow,
Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords?
My title's good, and better far than his.
WARWICK Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.
KING HENRY VI Henry the Fourth by conquest got the crown.
YORK 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
KING HENRY VI [Aside] I know not what to say; my title's weak.--
Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?
YORK What then?
KING HENRY VI An if he may, then am I lawful king;
For Richard, in the view of many lords,
Resign'd the crown to Henry the Fourth,
Whose heir my father was, and I am his.
YORK He rose against him, being his sovereign,
And made him to resign his crown perforce.
WARWICK Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain'd,
Think you 'twere prejudicial to his crown?
EXETER No; for he could not so resign his crown
But that the next heir should succeed and reign.
KING HENRY VI Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter?
EXETER His is the right, and therefore pardon me.
YORK Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?
EXETER My conscience tells me he is lawful king.
KING HENRY VI [Aside] All will revolt from me, and turn to him.
NORTHUMBERLAND Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay'st,
Think not that Henry shall be so deposed.
WARWICK Deposed he shall be, in despite of all.
NORTHUMBERLAND Thou art deceived: 'tis not thy southern power,
Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,
Can set the duke up in despite of me.
CLIFFORD King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence:
May that ground gape and swallow me alive,
Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father!
KING HENRY VI O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart!
YORK Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.
What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?
WARWICK Do right unto this princely Duke of York,
Or I will fill the house with armed men,
And over the chair of state, where now he sits,
Write up his title with usurping blood.
[He stamps with his foot and the soldiers show
KING HENRY VI My Lord of Warwick, hear me but one word:
Let me for this my life-time reign as king.
YORK Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs,
And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou livest.
KING HENRY VI I am content: Richard Plantagenet,
Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.
CLIFFORD What wrong is this unto the prince your son!
WARWICK What good is this to England and himself!
WESTMORELAND Base, fearful and despairing Henry!
CLIFFORD How hast thou injured both thyself and us!
WESTMORELAND I cannot stay to hear these articles.
CLIFFORD Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these news.
WESTMORELAND Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
NORTHUMBERLAND Be thou a prey unto the house of York,
And die in bands for this unmanly deed!
CLIFFORD In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome,
Or live in peace abandon'd and despised!
WARWICK Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not.
EXETER They seek revenge and therefore will not yield.
WARWICK Why should you sigh, my lord?
KING HENRY VI Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son,
Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.
But be it as it may: I here entail
The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever;
Conditionally, that here thou take an oath
To cease this civil war, and, whilst I live,
To honour me as thy king and sovereign,
And neither by treason nor hostility
To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
YORK This oath I willingly take and will perform.
WARWICK Long live King Henry! Plantagenet embrace him.
KING HENRY VI And long live thou and these thy forward sons!
YORK Now York and Lancaster are reconciled.
EXETER Accursed be he that seeks to make them foes!
[Sennet. Here they come down]
YORK Farewell, my gracious lord; I'll to my castle.
WARWICK And I'll keep London with my soldiers.
NORFOLK And I to Norfolk with my followers.
MONTAGUE And I unto the sea from whence I came.
WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, their Soldiers, and
KING HENRY VI And I, with grief and sorrow, to the court.
EXETER Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray her anger:
I'll steal away.
KING HENRY VI Exeter, so will I.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, go not from me; I will follow thee.
KING HENRY VI Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay.
QUEEN MARGARET Who can be patient in such extremes?
Ah, wretched man! would I had died a maid
And never seen thee, never borne thee son,
Seeing thou hast proved so unnatural a father
Hath he deserved to lose his birthright thus?
Hadst thou but loved him half so well as I,
Or felt that pain which I did for him once,
Or nourish'd him as I did with my blood,
Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there,
Rather than have that savage duke thine heir
And disinherited thine only son.
PRINCE EDWARD Father, you cannot disinherit me:
If you be king, why should not I succeed?
KING HENRY VI Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me, sweet son:
The Earl of Warwick and the duke enforced me.
QUEEN MARGARET Enforced thee! art thou king, and wilt be forced?
I shame to hear thee speak. Ah, timorous wretch!
Thou hast undone thyself, thy son and me;
And given unto the house of York such head
As thou shalt reign but by their sufferance.
To entail him and his heirs unto the crown,
What is it, but to make thy sepulchre
And creep into it far before thy time?
Warwick is chancellor and the lord of Calais;
Stern Falconbridge commands the narrow seas;
The duke is made protector of the realm;
And yet shalt thou be safe? such safety finds
The trembling lamb environed with wolves.
Had I been there, which am a silly woman,
The soldiers should have toss'd me on their pikes
Before I would have granted to that act.
But thou preferr'st thy life before thine honour:
And seeing thou dost, I here divorce myself
Both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed,
Until that act of parliament be repeal'd
Whereby my son is disinherited.
The northern lords that have forsworn thy colours
Will follow mine, if once they see them spread;
And spread they shall be, to thy foul disgrace
And utter ruin of the house of York.
Thus do I leave thee. Come, son, let's away;
Our army is ready; come, we'll after them.
KING HENRY VI Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me speak.
QUEEN MARGARET Thou hast spoke too much already: get thee gone.
KING HENRY VI Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay with me?
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, to be murder'd by his enemies.
PRINCE EDWARD When I return with victory from the field
I'll see your grace: till then I'll follow her.
QUEEN MARGARET Come, son, away; we may not linger thus.
KING HENRY VI Poor queen! how love to me and to her son
Hath made her break out into terms of rage!
Revenged may she be on that hateful duke,
Whose haughty spirit, winged with desire,
Will cost my crown, and like an empty eagle
Tire on the flesh of me and of my son!
The loss of those three lords torments my heart:
I'll write unto them and entreat them fair.
Come, cousin you shall be the messenger.
EXETER And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.

Scene II Sandal Castle.

RICHARD Brother, though I be youngest, give me leave.
EDWARD No, I can better play the orator.
MONTAGUE But I have reasons strong and forcible.
[Enter YORK]
YORK Why, how now, sons and brother! at a strife?
What is your quarrel? how began it first?
EDWARD No quarrel, but a slight contention.
YORK About what?
RICHARD About that which concerns your grace and us;
The crown of England, father, which is yours.
YORK Mine boy? not till King Henry be dead.
RICHARD Your right depends not on his life or death.
EDWARD Now you are heir, therefore enjoy it now:
By giving the house of Lancaster leave to breathe,
It will outrun you, father, in the end.
YORK I took an oath that he should quietly reign.
EDWARD But for a kingdom any oath may be broken:
I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.
RICHARD No; God forbid your grace should be forsworn.
YORK I shall be, if I claim by open war.
RICHARD I'll prove the contrary, if you'll hear me speak.
YORK Thou canst not, son; it is impossible.
RICHARD An oath is of no moment, being not took
Before a true and lawful magistrate,
That hath authority over him that swears:
Henry had none, but did usurp the place;
Then, seeing 'twas he that made you to depose,
Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous.
Therefore, to arms! And, father, do but think
How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown;
Within whose circuit is Elysium
And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
Why do we finger thus? I cannot rest
Until the white rose that I wear be dyed
Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry's heart.
YORK Richard, enough; I will be king, or die.
Brother, thou shalt to London presently,
And whet on Warwick to this enterprise.
Thou, Richard, shalt to the Duke of Norfolk,
And tell him privily of our intent.
You Edward, shall unto my Lord Cobham,
With whom the Kentishmen will willingly rise:
In them I trust; for they are soldiers,
Witty, courteous, liberal, full of spirit.
While you are thus employ'd, what resteth more,
But that I seek occasion how to rise,
And yet the king not privy to my drift,
Nor any of the house of Lancaster?
[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:
She is hard by with twenty thousand men;
And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.
YORK Ay, with my sword. What! think'st thou that we fear them?
Edward and Richard, you shall stay with me;
My brother Montague shall post to London:
Let noble Warwick, Cobham, and the rest,
Whom we have left protectors of the king,
With powerful policy strengthen themselves,
And trust not simple Henry nor his oaths.
MONTAGUE Brother, I go; I'll win them, fear it not:
And thus most humbly I do take my leave.
Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles,
You are come to Sandal in a happy hour;
The army of the queen mean to besiege us.
JOHN MORTIMER She shall not need; we'll meet her in the field.
YORK What, with five thousand men?
RICHARD Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need:
A woman's general; what should we fear?
[A march afar off]
EDWARD I hear their drums: let's set our men in order,
And issue forth and bid them battle straight.
YORK Five men to twenty! though the odds be great,
I doubt not, uncle, of our victory.
Many a battle have I won in France,
When as the enemy hath been ten to one:
Why should I not now have the like success?
[Alarum. Exeunt]

Scene III Field of battle betwixt Sandal Castle and Wakefield.

[Alarums. Enter RUTLAND and his Tutor]
RUTLAND Ah, whither shall I fly to 'scape their hands?
Ah, tutor, look where bloody Clifford comes!
[Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers]
CLIFFORD Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life.
As for the brat of this accursed duke,
Whose father slew my father, he shall die.
Tutor And I, my lord, will bear him company.
CLIFFORD Soldiers, away with him!
Tutor Ah, Clifford, murder not this innocent child,
Lest thou be hated both of God and man!
[Exit, dragged off by Soldiers]
CLIFFORD How now! is he dead already? or is it fear
That makes him close his eyes? I'll open them.
RUTLAND So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch
That trembles under his devouring paws;
And so he walks, insulting o'er his prey,
And so he comes, to rend his limbs asunder.
Ah, gentle Clifford, kill me with thy sword,
And not with such a cruel threatening look.
Sweet Clifford, hear me speak before I die.
I am too mean a subject for thy wrath:
Be thou revenged on men, and let me live.
CLIFFORD In vain thou speak'st, poor boy; my father's blood
Hath stopp'd the passage where thy words should enter.
RUTLAND Then let my father's blood open it again:
He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.
CLIFFORD Had thy brethren here, their lives and thine
Were not revenge sufficient for me;
No, if I digg'd up thy forefathers' graves
And hung their rotten coffins up in chains,
It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart.
The sight of any of the house of York
Is as a fury to torment my soul;
And till I root out their accursed line
And leave not one alive, I live in hell.
[Lifting his hand]
RUTLAND O, let me pray before I take my death!
To thee I pray; sweet Clifford, pity me!
CLIFFORD Such pity as my rapier's point affords.
RUTLAND I never did thee harm: why wilt thou slay me?
CLIFFORD Thy father hath.
RUTLAND But 'twas ere I was born.
Thou hast one son; for his sake pity me,
Lest in revenge thereof, sith God is just,
He be as miserably slain as I.
Ah, let me live in prison all my days;
And when I give occasion of offence,
Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause.
CLIFFORD No cause!
Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.
[Stabs him]
RUTLAND Di faciant laudis summa sit ista tuae!
CLIFFORD Plantagenet! I come, Plantagenet!
And this thy son's blood cleaving to my blade
Shall rust upon my weapon, till thy blood,
Congeal'd with this, do make me wipe off both.

Scene IV Another part of the field.

[Alarum. Enter YORK]
YORK The army of the queen hath got the field:
My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
And all my followers to the eager foe
Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind
Or lambs pursued by hunger-starved wolves.
My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them:
But this I know, they have demean'd themselves
Like men born to renown by life or death.
Three times did Richard make a lane to me.
And thrice cried 'Courage, father! fight it out!'
And full as oft came Edward to my side,
With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
In blood of those that had encounter'd him:
And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
Richard cried 'Charge! and give no foot of ground!'
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
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:
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,
I dare your quenchless fury to more rage:
I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
NORTHUMBERLAND Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
CLIFFORD Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm,
With downright payment, show'd unto my father.
Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car,
And made an evening at the noontide prick.
YORK My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all:
And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with.
Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?
CLIFFORD So cowards fight when they can fly no further;
So doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons;
So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
Breathe out invectives 'gainst the officers.
YORK O Clifford, but bethink thee once again,
And in thy thought o'er-run my former time;
And, if though canst for blushing, view this face,
And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with cowardice
Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this!
CLIFFORD I will not bandy with thee word for word,
But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one.
QUEEN MARGARET Hold, valiant Clifford! for a thousand causes
I would prolong awhile the traitor's life.
Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northumberland.
NORTHUMBERLAND Hold, Clifford! do not honour him so much
To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart:
What valour were it, when a cur doth grin,
For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
When he might spurn him with his foot away?
It is war's prize to take all vantages;
And ten to one is no impeach of valour.
[They lay hands on YORK, who struggles]
CLIFFORD Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.
NORTHUMBERLAND So doth the cony struggle in the net.
YORK So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty;
So true men yield, with robbers so o'ermatch'd.
NORTHUMBERLAND What would your grace have done unto him now?
QUEEN MARGARET Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
Come, make him stand upon this molehill here,
That raught at mountains with outstretched arms,
Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
What! was it you that would be England's king?
Was't you that revell'd in our parliament,
And made a preachment of your high descent?
Where are your mess of sons to back you now?
The wanton Edward, and the lusty George?
And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy,
Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice
Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood
That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point,
Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
And if thine eyes can water for his death,
I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
Alas poor York! but that I hate thee deadly,
I should lament thy miserable state.
I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York.
What, hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails
That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death?
Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad;
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport:
York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown.
A crown for York! and, lords, bow low to him:
Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.
[Putting a paper crown on his head]
Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king!
Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair,
And this is he was his adopted heir.
But how is it that great Plantagenet
Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath?
As I bethink me, you should not be king
Till our King Henry had shook hands with death.
And will you pale your head in Henry's glory,
And rob his temples of the diadem,
Now in his life, against your holy oath?
O, 'tis a fault too too unpardonable!
Off with the crown, and with the crown his head;
And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.
CLIFFORD That is my office, for my father's sake.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, stay; lets hear the orisons he makes.
YORK She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,
Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth!
How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex
To triumph, like an Amazonian trull,
Upon their woes whom fortune captivates!
But that thy face is, vizard-like, unchanging,
Made impudent with use of evil deeds,
I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush.
To tell thee whence thou camest, of whom derived,
Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless.
Thy father bears the type of King of Naples,
Of both the Sicils and Jerusalem,
Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen,
Unless the adage must be verified,
That beggars mounted run their horse to death.
'Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud;
But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small:
'Tis virtue that doth make them most admired;
The contrary doth make thee wonder'd at:
'Tis government that makes them seem divine;
The want thereof makes thee abominable:
Thou art as opposite to every good
As the Antipodes are unto us,
Or as the south to the septentrion.
O tiger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide!
How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child,
To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
And yet be seen to bear a woman's face?
Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible;
Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
Bids't thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish:
Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will:
For raging wind blows up incessant showers,
And when the rage allays, the rain begins.
These tears are my sweet Rutland's obsequies:
And every drop cries vengeance for his death,
'Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false
NORTHUMBERLAND Beshrew me, but his passion moves me so
That hardly can I cheque my eyes from tears.
YORK That face of his the hungry cannibals
Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood:
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
O, ten times more, than tigers of Hyrcania.
See, ruthless queen, a hapless father's tears:
This cloth thou dip'dst in blood of my sweet boy,
And I with tears do wash the blood away.
Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:
And if thou tell'st the heavy story right,
Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;
Yea even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
And say 'Alas, it was a piteous deed!'
There, take the crown, and, with the crown, my curse;
And in thy need such comfort come to thee
As now I reap at thy too cruel hand!
Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world:
My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads!
NORTHUMBERLAND Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin,
I should not for my life but weep with him.
To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.
QUEEN MARGARET What, weeping-ripe, my Lord Northumberland?
Think but upon the wrong he did us all,
And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.
CLIFFORD Here's for my oath, here's for my father's death.
[Stabbing him]
QUEEN MARGARET And here's to right our gentle-hearted king.
[Stabbing him]
YORK Open Thy gate of mercy, gracious God!
My soul flies through these wounds to seek out Thee.
QUEEN MARGARET Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
So York may overlook the town of York.
[Flourish. Exeunt]

Next Act

Complete Works Cliff Notes Free Papers! Biography Shakespeare Links Shakespeare discussion