William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) online

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1 Impale, encircle with a crown.

2 i. e, the crown, the emblem or symbol of royalty.





But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small.

Tis virtue that doth make them most admired ;

The contrary doth make thee wondered at.

Tis government, 1 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, wrapped 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 ;

i Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.

4 Bidd st thou me rage ? why, now thou hast thy wish :

4 Wouldst have me weep ? why, now thou hast thy
will ;

1 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,

4 Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false French
North. Beshrew me, but his passions 2 move me so,

That hardly can I check my eyes from tears.
York. That face of his the hungry cannibals

Would not have touched, would not have stained 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 dipp 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 ;

[He gives back the handkerchief.

And, if thou tell st the heavy story right,

Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears ;

1 Government, in the language of the time, signified evenness of temper,
and decency of manners.
~ Passions for griefs.


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 !

North. Had he been slaughterman to all my kin,
4 I should not for my life but weep with him,
To see how inly-sorrow gripes his soul.

Q. Mar. What, weeping-ripe, my lord Northum
berland ?

Think but upon the wrong he did us all,
And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.

Clif. Here s for my oath, here s for my father s

death. [Stabbing him.

Q. Mar. And here s to right our gentle-hearted

king. [Stabbing him.

York. Open thy gate of mercy, gracious God !

6 My soul flies through these wounds to seek out thee.


Q. Mar. Off with his head, and set it on York gates ;
So York may overlook the town of York. 1 [Exeunt.

1 This gallant prince fell by his own imprudence, in consequence of
leading an army of only five thousand men to engage with twenty thou
sand, and not Avaiting for the arrival of his son, the earl of March, with a
large body of Welshmen. He and Cecily his wife, with his son Edmund,
earl of Rutland, were originally buried in the chancel of Fotheringay
church. Peacham, in his Complete Gentleman, 1627, p. 153, gives an
account of the destruction of their monuments, of the disinterment, &c.,
and of their reinterment in the church, by command of queen Elizabeth,
under a mean monument of plaster.



SCENE I. A Plain near Mortimer s Cross in Here
fordshire. Drums.

Enter EDWARD and RICHARD, with their Forces,

* Edw. 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, w r e 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.

6 How fares my brother ? why is he so sad ?

Rich. I cannot joy, until I be resolved
Where our right valiant father is become.
c I saw him in the battle range about;
And watched him how lit; singled Clifford forth.
Methought he bore him in the thickest troop,
As doth a lion in a herd of mat;

* Or as a bear encompassed round with dogs ;

* Who having pinched a lew, 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;

c Methinks tis prize 1 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,

e Trimmed like a younker, prancing to his love !
Edw . Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns ?
Rich. Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun ; u

1 Prize is here again used for estimation.

2 This circumstance is mentioned both by Hall and Ilolinshed. " At
which tyme the sun (as some write) appeared to the earl of March like
three sunnes, and sodainely joyned altogether in one ; upon whichc sight


Not separated with the racking clouds, 1
But severed in a pale, clear-shining sky.
See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,
As if they vowed some league inviolable ;
Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.
In this the heaven figures some event.

* Ediv. Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never

heard of.

1 think it cites us, brother, to the field ;
That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
4 Each one already blazing by our meeds, 2
Should, notwithstanding, join our lights together,
4 And overshine the earth, as this the world.
4 Whate er it bodes, henceforward will I bear
Upon my target three fair-shining suns.

* Rich. Nay, bear three daughters ; by your leave

I speak it ;
* You love the breeder better than the male.

Enter a Messenger.

4 But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell
4 Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue ?
Mess. Ah, one that was a woful looker on,
When as the noble duke of York was slain,

* Your princely father, and my loving lord.

4 Edw. O, speak no more ! for I have heard too


4 Rich. Say how he died, for I will hear it all.
Mess. Environed he was with many foes ;

* And stood against them as the hope of Troy

* Against the Greeks, that would have entered Troy.
*But Hercules himself must yield to odds ;

* And many strokes, though with a little axe,

hee tooke such courage, that he fiercely setting 1 on his enemyes put them
to flight ; and for this cause menne ymagined that he gave the sun in his
full bryghtnesse for his badge or cognizance. Holinshed.

1 i. e. the clouds floating before the wind like a reek or vapor. This
verb, though now obsolete, was formerly in common use ; and it is now
orovincially common to speak of the rack of the weather.

2 Meed anciently signified merit as well as reward.

VOL. iv. 58


* Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.
4 By many hands your father was subdued ;

4 But only slaughtered by the ireful arm

4 Of unrelenting Clifford and the queen :

4 Who crowned the gracious duke in high despite ;

4 Laughed in his face ; and, when with grief he wept,

4 The ruthless queen gave him, to dry his cheeks,

4 A napkin steeped in the harmless blood

4 Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain.

4 And, after many scorns, many foul taunts,

4 They took his head, and on the gates of York

4 They set the same ; and there it doth remain,

4 The saddest spectacle that e er I viewed.

Edw. Sweet duke of York, our prop to lean upon ;
4 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 vanquished him,

*For, hand to hand, he would have vanquished thee !

Now my soul s palace is become a prison ;

Ah, would she break from hence ! that this my body

4 Might in the ground be closed up in rest.

4 For never henceforth shall I joy again,

4 Never, O never, shall I see more joy.

4 Rich. 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 burden ;

* For self-same wind, that I should speak withal,

* Is kindling coals, that fire all my breast,

* And burn 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 !
4 Richard, I bear thy name, I ll venge thy death,

4 Or die renowned by attempting it.

Edw. His name that valiant duke hath left with thee ;
4 His dukedom and his chair with me is left.

Rich. 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 and MONTAGUE, with Forces. 1

War. How now. fair lords ? What fare ? what
news abroad ?

Rich. 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.

valiant lord, the duke of York is slain.

Edw. O, Warwick ! Warwick ! that Plantagenet,
Which held thee dearly, as his soul s redemption,
Is by the stern lord Clifford clone to death.

War. Ten days ago I drowned these news in tears ;
And now, to add more measure to your woes,

1 come to tell you things since then befallen.
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.

Mustered my soldiers, gathered flocks of friends,

And very well appointed, as I thought,

Marched towards Saint Albans 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,

4 Touching king Henry s oath, and your succession.

Short tale to make. we at Saint Albans met,

Our battles joined, and both sides fiercely fought ;

But, whether twas the coldness of the king,

Who looked full gently on his warlike queen,

That robbed my soldiers of their hated spleen ;

Or whether twas report of her success ;

Or more than common fear of Clifford s rigor,

4 Who thunders to his captives blood and death,

I cannot judge ; but. to conclude with truth,

1 This meeting was at Chipping Norton, according to W. Wyrcestei
p. 483.


Their weapons like to lightning came and went ;
Our soldiers like the night-owl s lazy flight,
6 Or like a lazy thrasher with a flail,
Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends.
I cheered 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.

< Edw. 1 Where is the duke of Norfolk, gentle

Warwick ?
And when came George from Burgundy to England ?

War. 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. 2

Rich. Twus odds, belike, when valiant Warwick


Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
But ne er, till now, his scandal of retire.

War. 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.

Rich. I know it well, lord Warwick : blame me not ;

1 The ages of the duke of York s children will show how far historic
truth is departed from in the present play. The battle of Wakefield was
fought on the 29th of December, MGO, Avhen Edward was in his nineteenth
year, Rutland in his eighteenth, George of York, afterwards duke of Clar
ence, in his twelfth, and Richard only in his ninth year.

2 This circumstance is not warranted by history. Clarence and Gloster
(as they were afterwards created) were sent into Flanders immediately
after the battle of Wakefield, and did not return until their brother Edward
had got possession of the crown. The duchess of Burgundy was not their
aunt, but a third cousin.


3 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.

War. 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.
4 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,
i 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.

Rich. Ay, now, methinks I hear great Warwick


Ne er may he live to see a sunshine day,
4 That cries Retire, if Warwick bid him stay.

Edw. Lord Warwick, on thy shoulder will I lean ,
4 And when thou fall st, (as God forbid the hour !)
Must Edward fall, which peril Heaven forefend !

War. No longer earl of March, but duke of York.
c The next degree is, England s royal throne;
For king of England shalt thou be proclaimed
In every borough as we pass along ;


And he that throws not up his cap for joy,
6 Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head.
King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
Stay we no longer dreaming of renown,
i But sound the trumpets, and about our task.

* Rich. Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as


As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds,)
come to pierce it, or to give thee mine.

* Edw. Then strike up, drums ; God, and saint

George, for us !

Enter a Messenger.


War. How HOAV ? what news ?

Mess. The duke of Norfolk sends you word by me,
The queen is coming with a puissant host ;
And craves your company for speedy counsel.

War. Why then it sorts, 1 brave warriors. Let s
away. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. Before York.


Q. Mar. Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of


Yonder s the head of that arch enemy,
That sought to be encompassed with your crown.
Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord ?

4 K. Hen. Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear

their w r reck ;

To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
Withhold revenge, dear God ! tis not my fault,
Not wittingly have I infringed my vow.

Clif. My gracious liege, this too much lenity,

1 Why, then, things are as they should be ; it falls out right.

sc. ii.] KING HENRY vi. 463

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 ;

4 And doves will peck, in safeguard of their brood.

Ambitious York did 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, blessed 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

4 Which sometime they have used with fearful flight)

Make war with him that climbed unto their nest,

Offering 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 grandsire got,

My careless father fondly 1 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.

K. Hen. Full well hath Clifford played 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,

J Foolishly.


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,

4 As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep,

4 Than in possession any jot of pleasure.

Ah, cousin York ! would thy best friends did know,

4 How it doth grieve me that thy head is here !

; Q. Mar. 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 ;
Unsheath your sword, and dub him presently.
Edward, kneel down.

K. Hen. Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight ;
And learn this lesson, Draw thy sword in right.

Prince. My gracious father, by your kingly leave,
Pll draw it as apparent to the crown,
And in that quarrel use it to the death.

Clif. Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. 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, 2 for they are at hand.

Clif. I would your highness would depart the field ;
The queen hath best success when you are absent. 3

Q. Mar. Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.

K. Hen. Why, that s my fortune too; therefore I ll

1 The king quotes two proverbs ; the one " Ill-gotten goods never
prosper;" the other "Happy the child whose father went to the devil."

2 i. e. arrange your host. Darraign is used by Chaucer, Skelton, and

3 " Happy was the queene in her two battayls, but unfortunate was the
king in all his enterprises ; for where his person was present the victorie
iledde ever from him to the other parte." Hairs Chronicle. Henry VI.
fol. c. Drayton has enlarged upon this superstitious belief, in his Miseries
of Queen Margaret.

SC. II.]



North. Be it with resolution then to fight.
Prince. My royal father, cheer these noble lords,
And hearten those that fight in your defence.

Unsheath your sword, good father

cry, Saint George !

I am his king, and he should bow his knee.


i Edw. Now, perjured Henry ! wilt thou kneel for


4 And set thy diadem upon my head ;
* Or bide the mortal fortune of the field ?

Q. Mar. Go, rate thy minions, proud, insulting boy !
4 Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms,
4 Before thy sovereign, and thy lawful king ?


I was adopted heir by his consent ;
Since when, his oath is broke ; l for, as I hear,
You that are king, though he do wear the crown
Have caused him, by new act of parliament,
4 To blot out me, and put his own son in.

4 Clif. And reason too ;
Who should succeed the father, but the son ?

4 Rich. Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot
speak !

4 Clif. Ay, crookback ; here I stand to answer thee,
Or any he the proudest of thy sort.

Rich. Twas you that killed young Rutland, was it

Clif. Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.

Rich. For God s sake, lords, give signal to the fight.

War. What say st thou, Henry, wilt thou yield the
crown ?

1 Edward s argument is founded on an article said to have been in the
compact between Henry and the duke of York : " That if the king did
closely or apertly study e or go about to compass or imagine the death or
destruction of the sayde duke or his blood, then he toforfd the crowne, and
the duke of Yorke to take it." Hall. If this had been one of the articles
of the compact, the duke having been killed at Wakefield, his eldest son
would now have a title to the crown; but Malone doubts whether it ever
made part of that agreement. The Poet followed Hall.
VOL. iv. 59


Q. Mar. Why, how now, long-tongued Warwick ?

dare you speak ?

When you and I met at St. Albans last,
Your legs did better service than your hands.

War. Then twas my turn to fly, and now tis thine.

Clif. You said so much before, and yet you fled.

Wajr. Twas not your valor, Clifford, drove me

i North. No, nor your manhood, that durst make
you stay.

Rich. Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.
Break off the parle ; for scarce I can refrain
The execution of my big-swollen heart
Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.

Clif. I slew thy father : call st thou him a child ?

Rich. 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.

K. Hen. Have done with words, my lords, and hear
me speak.

Q. Mar. Defy them, then, or else hold close thy

K. Hen. I pr ythee, give no limits to my tongue ,
I am a king, and privileged to speak.

Clif. My liege, the wound that bred this meeting

Cannot be cured by words ; therefore be still.

Rich. Then, executioner, unsheath thy sword.
By him that made us all, I am resolved, 1
4 That Clifford s manhood lies upon his tongue.

4 Edw. 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.

War. If thou deny, their blood upon thy head ;
For York in justice puts his armor on.

< Prince. If that be right, which Warwick says is

There is no wrong, but every thing is right.

1 It is my firm persuasion.


Rich. Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands ;
For, well I wot, thou hast thy mother s tongue.

Q. Mar. But thou art neither like thy sire, nor dam ;
But like a foul, misshapen stigmatic,
Marked by the destinies to be avoided,
As venom toads, or lizards dreadful stings.

Rich. Iron of Naples, hid with English gilt,
Whose father bears the title of a king,
(As if a channel 1 should be called the sea,)

< Sham st thou not, knowing whence thou art ex-

To let thy tongue detect thy base-born heart ?

Edw. A wisp of straw 2 were worth a thousand

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 wronged

* By that false woman, as this king by thee.
His father revelled in the heart of France,

And tamed the king, and made the dauphin stoop;

And, had he matched 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,

4 Even then that sunshine brewed a shower for him,

< That washed his father s fortunes forth of France,
And heaped sedition on his crown at home.

c For what hath broached this tumult, but thy pride ?
Hadst thou been meek, our title still had slept ;
And we, in pity of the gentle king,
Had slipped our claim until another age.

6 Geo. But, when we saw our sunshine made thy

1 A channel in the Poet s time signified what we now call a kennel ,
which word is still pronounced channel in the north.

2 A wisp of straw was often applied as a mark of opprobrium to an im

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) → online text (page 33 of 38)