Henry VI, part 3, by William Shakespeare

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.

Enter Sir John Somerville

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.

Exit

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.

Enter Oxford and Somerset

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.

Dies

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 Gloucester, Clarence, and the rest

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.

Exeunt

Scene IV. Plains near Tewksbury.

March. Enter Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, 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.

Flourish. Enter King Edward IV, Gloucester, Clarence, 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.

Exit

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.

Exeunt

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!

Dies

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.

Flourish. Enter King Edward IV, Queen Elizabeth, Clarence, Gloucester, Hastings, a Nurse with the 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

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.

Exeunt

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30