III King Henry VI

Act V

Scene I Coventry.

[Enter WARWICK, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers,
and others upon the walls]
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.
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.
WARWICK Say, Somerville, what says my loving son?
And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?
SOMERSET At Southam I did leave him with his forces,
And do expect him here some two hours hence.
[Drum heard]
WARWICK Then Clarence is at hand, I hear his drum.
SOMERSET It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies:
The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.
WARWICK Who should that be? belike, unlook'd-for friends.
SOMERSET They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.
[March: flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,
and soldiers]
KING EDWARD IV Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.
GLOUCESTER See how the surly Warwick mans the wall!
WARWICK O unbid spite! is sportful Edward come?
Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced,
That we could hear no news of his repair?
KING EDWARD IV Now, Warwick, wilt thou ope the city gates,
Speak gentle words and humbly bend thy knee,
Call Edward king and at his hands beg mercy?
And he shall pardon thee these outrages.
WARWICK Nay, rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence,
Confess who set thee up and pluck'd thee own,
Call Warwick patron and be penitent?
And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.
GLOUCESTER I thought, at least, he would have said the king;
Or did he make the jest against his will?
WARWICK Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?
GLOUCESTER Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give:
I'll do thee service for so good a gift.
WARWICK 'Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother.
KING EDWARD IV Why then 'tis mine, if but by Warwick's gift.
WARWICK Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight:
And weakling, Warwick takes his gift again;
And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.
KING EDWARD IV But Warwick's king is Edward's prisoner:
And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this:
What is the body when the head is off?
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!
You left poor Henry at the Bishop's palace,
And, ten to one, you'll meet him in the Tower.
EDWARD 'Tis even so; yet you are Warwick still.
GLOUCESTER Come, Warwick, take the time; kneel down, kneel down:
Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools.
WARWICK I had rather chop this hand off at a blow,
And with the other fling it at thy face,
Than bear so low a sail, to strike to thee.
KING EDWARD IV Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,
This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair
Shall, whiles thy head is warm and new cut off,
Write in the dust this sentence with thy blood,
'Wind-changing Warwick now can change no more.'
[Enter OXFORD, with drum and colours]
WARWICK O cheerful colours! see where Oxford comes!
OXFORD Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!
[He and his forces enter the city]
GLOUCESTER The gates are open, let us enter too.
KING EDWARD IV So other foes may set upon our backs.
Stand we in good array; for they no doubt
Will issue out again and bid us battle:
If not, the city being but of small defence,
We'll quickly rouse the traitors in the same.
WARWICK O, welcome, Oxford! for we want thy help.
[Enter MONTAGUE with drum and colours]
MONTAGUE Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!
[He and his forces enter the city]
GLOUCESTER Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason
Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.
KING EDWARD IV The harder match'd, the greater victory:
My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.
[Enter SOMERSET, with drum and colours]
SOMERSET Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!
[He and his forces enter the city]
GLOUCESTER Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset,
Have sold their lives unto the house of York;
And thou shalt be the third if this sword hold.
[Enter CLARENCE, with drum and colours]
WARWICK And lo, where George of Clarence sweeps along,
Of force enough to bid his brother battle;
With whom an upright zeal to right prevails
More than the nature of a brother's love!
Come, Clarence, come; thou wilt, if Warwick call.
CLARENCE Father of Warwick, know you what this means?
[Taking his red rose out of his hat]
Look here, I throw my infamy at thee
I will not ruinate my father's house,
Who gave his blood to lime the stones together,
And set up Lancaster. Why, trow'st thou, Warwick,
That Clarence is so harsh, so blunt, unnatural,
To bend the fatal instruments of war
Against his brother and his lawful king?
Perhaps thou wilt object my holy oath:
To keep that oath were more impiety
Than Jephthah's, when he sacrificed his daughter.
I am so sorry for my trespass made
That, to deserve well at my brother's hands,
I here proclaim myself thy mortal foe,
With resolution, wheresoe'er I meet thee--
As I will meet thee, if thou stir abroad--
To plague thee for thy foul misleading me.
And so, proud-hearted Warwick, I defy thee,
And to my brother turn my blushing cheeks.
Pardon me, Edward, I will make amends:
And, Richard, do not frown upon my faults,
For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.
KING EDWARD IV Now welcome more, and ten times more beloved,
Than if thou never hadst deserved our hate.
GLOUCESTER Welcome, good Clarence; this is brotherlike.
WARWICK O passing traitor, perjured and unjust!
KING EDWARD IV What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight?
Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?
WARWICK Alas, I am not coop'd here for defence!
I will away towards Barnet presently,
And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou darest.
KING EDWARD IV 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]

Scene II A field of battle near Barnet.

[Alarum and excursions. Enter KING EDWARD IV, bringing
forth WARWICK wounded]
KING EDWARD IV So, lie thou there: die thou, and die our fear;
For Warwick was a bug that fear'd us all.
Now, Montague, sit fast; I seek for thee,
That Warwick's bones may keep thine company.
WARWICK Ah, who is nigh? come to me, friend or foe,
And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick?
Why ask I that? my mangled body shows,
My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shows.
That I must yield my body to the earth
And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe.
Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge,
Whose arms gave shelter to the princely eagle,
Under whose shade the ramping lion slept,
Whose top-branch overpeer'd Jove's spreading tree
And kept low shrubs from winter's 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:
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!
My parks, my walks, my manors that I had.
Even now forsake me, and of all my lands
Is nothing left me but my body's length.
Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?
And, live we how we can, yet die we must.
SOMERSET Ah, Warwick, Warwick! wert thou as we are.
We might recover all our loss again;
The queen from France hath brought a puissant power:
Even now we heard the news: ah, could'st thou fly!
WARWICK Why, then I would not fly. Ah, Montague,
If thou be there, sweet brother, take my hand.
And with thy lips keep in my soul awhile!
Thou lovest me not; for, brother, if thou didst,
Thy tears would wash this cold congealed blood
That glues my lips and will not let me speak.
Come quickly, Montague, or I am dead.
SOMERSET Ah, Warwick! Montague hath breathed his last;
And to the latest gasp cried out for Warwick,
And said 'Commend me to my valiant brother.'
And more he would have said, and more he spoke,
Which sounded like a clamour in a vault,
That mought not be distinguished; but at last
I well might hear, delivered with a groan,
'O, farewell, Warwick!'
WARWICK Sweet rest his soul! Fly, lords, and save yourselves;
For Warwick bids you all farewell to meet in heaven.
OXFORD Away, away, to meet the queen's great power!
[Here they bear away his body. Exeunt]

Scene III Another part of the field.

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV in triumph; with
KING EDWARD IV 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,
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
And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.
CLARENCE A little gale will soon disperse that cloud
And blow it to the source from whence it came:
The very beams will dry those vapours up,
For every cloud engenders not a storm.
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 We are advertised by our loving friends
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.
Strike up the drum; cry 'Courage!' and away.

Scene IV Plains near Tewksbury.

SOMERSET, OXFORD, and soldiers]
QUEEN MARGARET Great lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss,
But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
What though the mast be now blown overboard,
The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood?
Yet lives our pilot still. Is't meet that he
Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad
With tearful eyes add water to the sea
And give more strength to that which hath too much,
Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,
Which industry and courage might have saved?
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?
And Somerset another goodly mast?
The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I
For once allow'd the skilful pilot's charge?
We will not from the helm to sit and weep,
But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,
From shelves and rocks that threaten us with 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?
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,
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.
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
And make him, naked, foil a man at arms.
I speak not this as doubting any here
For did I but suspect a fearful man
He should have leave to go away betimes,
Lest in our need he might infect another
And make him of like spirit to himself.
If any such be here--as God forbid!--
Let him depart before we need his help.
OXFORD Women and children of so high a courage,
And warriors faint! why, 'twere perpetual shame.
O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
To bear his image and renew his glories!
SOMERSET And he that will not fight for such a hope.
Go home to bed, and like the owl by day,
If he arise, be mock'd and wonder'd at.
QUEEN MARGARET Thanks, gentle Somerset; sweet Oxford, thanks.
PRINCE EDWARD And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.
[Enter a Messenger]
Messenger Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand.
Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
OXFORD I thought no less: it is his policy
To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
SOMERSET But he's deceived; we are in readiness.
QUEEN MARGARET This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.
OXFORD Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.
[Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,
CLARENCE, and soldiers]
KING EDWARD IV Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood,
Which, by the heavens' assistance and your strength,
Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
I need not add more fuel to your fire,
For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out
Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!
QUEEN MARGARET Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say
My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
Ye see, I drink the water of 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,
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]

Scene V Another part of the field.

and soldiers; with QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and
SOMERSET, prisoners]
KING EDWARD IV Now here a period of tumultuous broils.
Away with Oxford to Hames Castle straight:
For Somerset, off with his guilty head.
Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.
OXFORD For my part, I'll not trouble thee with words.
SOMERSET Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.
[Exeunt Oxford and Somerset, guarded]
QUEEN MARGARET So part we sadly in this troublous world,
To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.
KING EDWARD IV Is proclamation made, that who finds Edward
Shall have a high reward, and he his life?
GLOUCESTER It is: and lo, where youthful Edward comes!
[Enter soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD]
KING EDWARD IV 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,
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,
Which traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.
QUEEN MARGARET Ah, that thy father had been so resolved!
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;
His currish riddles sort not with this place.
GLOUCESTER By heaven, brat, I'll plague ye for that word.
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.
GLOUCESTER For God's sake, take away this captive scold.
PRINCE EDWARD Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather.
KING EDWARD IV Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.
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
I am your better, traitors as ye are:
And thou usurp'st my father's right and mine.
KING EDWARD IV Take that, thou likeness of this railer here.
[Stabs him]
GLOUCESTER Sprawl'st thou? take that, to end thy agony.
[Stabs him]
CLARENCE And there's for twitting me with perjury.
[Stabs him]
QUEEN MARGARET O, kill me too!
GLOUCESTER Marry, and shall.
[Offers to kill her]
KING EDWARD IV Hold, Richard, hold; for we have done too much.
GLOUCESTER Why should she live, to fill the world with words?
KING EDWARD IV What, doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.
GLOUCESTER Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother;
I'll hence to London on a serious matter:
Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.
CLARENCE What? what?
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:
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.
Butchers and villains! bloody cannibals!
How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp'd!
You have no children, butchers! if you had,
The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse:
But if you ever chance to have a child,
Look in his youth to have him so cut off
As, deathmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!
KING EDWARD IV Away with her; go, bear her hence perforce.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, never bear me hence, dispatch me here,
Here sheathe thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death:
What, wilt thou not? then, Clarence, do it thou.
CLARENCE By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.
QUEEN MARGARET Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it.
CLARENCE Didst thou not hear me swear I would not do it?
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself:
'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.
KING EDWARD IV 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 Where's Richard gone?
CLARENCE To London, all in post; and, as I guess,
To make a bloody supper in the Tower.
KING EDWARD IV He's sudden, if a thing comes in his head.
Now march we hence: discharge the common sort
With pay and thanks, and let's away to London
And see our gentle queen how well she fares:
By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.

Scene VI London. The Tower.

[Enter KING HENRY VI and GLOUCESTER, with the
Lieutenant, on the walls]
GLOUCESTER Good day, my lord. What, at your book so hard?
KING 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.'
GLOUCESTER Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer.
[Exit Lieutenant]
KING 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?
GLOUCESTER Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
KING 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,
Have now the fatal object in my eye
Where my poor young was limed, was caught and kill'd.
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.
KING 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.
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?
GLOUCESTER Think'st thou I am an executioner?
KING HENRY VI A persecutor, I am sure, thou art:
If murdering innocents be executing,
Why, then thou art an executioner.
GLOUCESTER Thy son I kill'd for his presumption.
KING HENRY VI Hadst thou been kill'd when first thou didst presume,
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--
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;
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,
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,
Thou camest--
GLOUCESTER I'll hear no more: die, prophet in thy speech:
[Stabs him]
For this amongst the rest, was I ordain'd.
KING HENRY VI Ay, and for much more slaughter after this.
God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!
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!
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]
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,
And seek their ruin that usurp'd our right?
The midwife wonder'd and the women cried
'O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!'
And so I was; which plainly signified
That I should snarl and bite and play the dog.
Then, since the heavens have 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
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,
And then, to purge his fear, I'll be thy death.
King Henry and the prince his son are gone:
Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest,
Counting myself but bad till I be best.
I'll throw thy body in another room
And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.
[Exit, with the body]

Scene VII London. The palace.

young Prince, and Attendants]
KING EDWARD IV 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
For hardy and undoubted champions;
Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,
And two Northumberlands; two braver men
Ne'er spurr'd their coursers at the trumpet's sound;
With them, the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague,
That in their chains fetter'd the kingly lion
And made the forest tremble when they roar'd.
Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat
And made our footstool of security.
Come hither, Bess, and let me kiss my boy.
Young Ned, for thee, thine uncles and myself
Have in our armours watch'd the winter's night,
Went all afoot in summer's scalding heat,
That thou mightst repossess the crown in peace;
And of our labours thou shalt reap the gain.
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.
KING EDWARD IV Clarence and Gloucester, love my lovely queen;
And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both.
CLARENCE The duty that I owe unto your majesty
I seal upon the lips of this sweet babe.
QUEEN ELIZABETH Thanks, noble Clarence; worthy brother, thanks.
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 Now am I seated as my soul delights,
Having my country's peace and brothers' loves.
CLARENCE What will your grace have done with Margaret?
Reignier, her father, to the king of France
Hath pawn'd the Sicils and Jerusalem,
And hither have they sent it for her ransom.
KING EDWARD IV Away with her, and waft her hence to France.
And now what rests but that we spend the time
With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows,
Such as befits the pleasure of the court?
Sound drums and trumpets! farewell sour annoy!
For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy.

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