A march. Enter Edward, Richard, and their power
Edward 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;
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 I cannot joy, until I be resolved
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;
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:
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!
Edward Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
Richard 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,
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.
Edward ’Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
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
Upon my target three fair-shining suns.
Richard 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
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!
Edward O, speak no more, for I have heard too much.
Richard 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;
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,
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:
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.
Edward Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon,
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.
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!
Richard 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,
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.
Edward His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
His dukedom and his chair with me is left.
Richard 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;
Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.
March. Enter Warwick, Montague, and their army
Warwick How now, fair lords! What fare? what news abroad?
Richard Great Lord of Warwick, if we should recount
Our baleful news, and at each word’s deliverance
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!
Edward O Warwick, Warwick! that Plantagenet,
Which held three dearly as his soul’s redemption,
Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.
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,
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,
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
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,
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,
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.
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;
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.
Edward Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick?
And when came George from Burgundy to England?
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.
Richard ’Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled:
Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
But ne’er till now his scandal of retire.
Warwick Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear;
For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine
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 I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame me not:
’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?
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.
Warwick Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out;
And therefore comes my brother Montague.
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,
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:
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,
And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
And once again cry ‘Charge upon our foes!’
But never once again turn back and fly.
Richard Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak:
Ne’er may he live to see a sunshine day,
That cries ‘Retire,’ if Warwick bid him stay.
Edward 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!
Warwick No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York:
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.
King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
Stay we no longer, dreaming of renown,
But sound the trumpets, and about our task.
Richard Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel,
As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds,
I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine.
Edward Then strike up drums: God and Saint George for us!
Enter a Messenger
Warwick How now! what news?
Messenger The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me,
The queen is coming with a puissant host;
And craves your company for speedy counsel.
Warwick Why then it sorts, brave warriors, let’s away.
Flourish. Enter King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, Clifford, and Northumberland, with 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:
Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?
King 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.
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?
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.
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,
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,
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!
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’?
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.
King Henry VI Full well hath Clifford play’d the orator,
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?
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.
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:
Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently.
Edward, kneel down.
King 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,
I’ll draw it as apparent to the crown,
And in that quarrel use it to the death.
Clifford Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.
Enter a Messenger
Messenger Royal commanders, be in readiness:
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.
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.
King Henry VI Why, that’s my fortune too; therefore I’ll stay.
Northumberland Be it with resolution then to fight.
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!’
March. Enter Edward, George, Richard, Warwick, Norfolk, Montague, and Soldiers
Edward 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
Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?
Edward 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,
Have caused him, by new act of parliament,
To blot out me, and put his own son in.
Clifford And reason too:
Who should succeed the father but the son?
Richard Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak!
Clifford Ay, crook-back, here I stand to answer thee,
Or any he the proudest of thy sort.
Richard ’Twas you that kill’d young Rutland, was it not?
Clifford Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.
Richard For God’s sake, lords, give signal to the fight.
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.
Warwick Then ’twas my turn to fly, and now ’tis thine.
Clifford You said so much before, and yet you fled.
Warwick ’Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.
Northumberland No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.
Richard Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.
Break off the parley; for scarce I can refrain
The execution of my big-swoln heart
Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.
Clifford I slew thy father, call’st thou him a child?
Richard Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward,
As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland;
But ere sunset I’ll make thee curse the deed.
King Henry VI Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.
Queen Margaret Defy them then, or else hold close thy lips.
King Henry VI I prithee, give no limits to my tongue:
I am a king, and privileged to speak.
Clifford My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
Cannot be cured by words; therefore be still.
Richard Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword:
By him that made us all, I am resolved
That Clifford’s manhood lies upon his tongue.
Edward 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.
Warwick If thou deny, their blood upon thy head;
For York in justice puts his armour on.
Prince Edward If that be right which Warwick says is right,
There is no wrong, but every thing is right.
Richard 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;
But like a foul mis-shapen stigmatic,
Mark’d by the destinies to be avoided,
As venom toads, or lizards’ dreadful stings.
Richard Iron of Naples hid with English gilt,
Whose father bears the title of a king —
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?
Edward A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns,
To make this shameless callet know herself.
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,
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,
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;
And we, in pity of the gentle king,
Had slipp’d our claim until another age.
George 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;
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.
Edward And, in this resolution, I defy thee;
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.
Edward No, wrangling woman, we’ll no longer stay:
These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.
Alarum. Excursions. Enter Warwick
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.
Enter Edward, running
Edward Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle death!
For this world frowns, and Edward’s sun is clouded.
Warwick How now, my lord! what hap? what hope of good?
George 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?
Edward Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings;
And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.
Richard 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,
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.
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
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.
Edward 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,
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,
Where’er it be, in heaven or in earth.
Richard 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.
Warwick Away, away! Once more, sweet lords farewell.
George 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
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.
Excursions. Enter Richard and Clifford
Richard 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.
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
To execute the like upon thyself;
And so, have at thee!
They fight. Warwick comes; Clifford flies
Richard Nay Warwick, single out some other chase;
For I myself will hunt this wolf to death.
Alarum. Enter King Henry VI alone
King 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,
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:
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.
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.
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,
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;
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;
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,
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,
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.
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,
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,
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,
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;
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;
And no more words till they have flow’d their fill.
King 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;
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:
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,
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,
This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!
O boy, thy father gave thee life too soon,
And hath bereft thee of thy life too late!
King Henry VI Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
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:
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
Shed seas of tears and ne’er be satisfied!
King 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?
King 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;
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,
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
King Henry VI Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,
Here sits a king more woful than you are.
Alarums: excursions. Enter Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, and Exeter
Prince Edward Fly, father, fly! for all your friends are fled,
And Warwick rages like a chafed bull:
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,
And bloody steel grasp’d in their ireful hands,
Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain.
Exeter Away! for vengeance comes along with them:
Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed;
Or else come after: I’ll away before.
King 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!
A loud alarum. Enter Clifford, wounded
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;
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?
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,
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.
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;
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.
Alarum and retreat. Enter Edward, George, Richard, Montague, Warwick, and Soldiers
Edward Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause,
And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks.
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?
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 A deadly groan, like life and death’s departing.
Edward See who it is: and, now the battle’s ended,
If friend or foe, let him be gently used.
Richard Revoke that doom of mercy, for ’tis Clifford;
Who not contented that he lopp’d the branch
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.
Warwick From off the gates of York fetch down the head,
Your father’s head, which Clifford placed there;
Instead whereof let this supply the room:
Measure for measure must be answered.
Edward Bring forth that fatal screech-owl to our house,
That nothing sung but death to us and ours:
Now death shall stop his dismal threatening sound,
And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.
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,
And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.
Richard 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.
George If so thou think’st, vex him with eager words.
Richard Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.
Edward Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.
Warwick Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.
George While we devise fell tortures for thy faults.
Richard Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.
Edward Thou pitied’st Rutland; I will pity thee.
George Where’s Captain Margaret, to fence you now?
Warwick They mock thee, Clifford: swear as thou wast wont.
Richard What, not an oath? nay, then the world goes hard
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 issuing blood
Stifle the villain whose unstanched thirst
York and young Rutland could not satisfy.
Warwick Ay, but he’s dead: off with the traitor’s head,
And rear it in the place your father’s stands.
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;
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;
And then to Brittany I’ll cross the sea,
To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.
Edward 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
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 Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester;
For Gloucester’s dukedom is too ominous.
Warwick Tut, that’s a foolish observation:
Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London,
To see these honours in possession.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:54