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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VOL. iv. 61



482 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

6 K. Hen. Why, so I am, in mind ; and that s

enough.

2 Keep. But, if thou be a king, where is thy crown ?
K. Hen. My crown is in my heart, not on my head :

* Not decked with diamonds, and Indian stones,
*Nor to be seen : c my crown is called content;
< A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy.

< 2 Keep. Well, if you be a king crowned with

content,

Your crown content, and you, must be contented
To go along with us ; for, as we think,
You are the king ; king Edward hath deposed,
4 And we his subjects, sworn in all allegiance,
4 Will apprehend you as his enemy.

* K. Hen. But did you never swear, and break an

oath ?

* 2 Keep. No, never such an oath, nor will not now.

* K Hen. Where did you dwell, when I was king

of England ?

*2 Keep. Here in this country, where we now
remain.

* K. Hen. I was anointed king at nine months old ;

* My father and my grandfather were kings ;

* And you were sworn true subjects unto me ;

* And, tell me then, have you not broke your oaths ?

* 1 Keep. No ;

For we were subjects but while you were king.

* K Hen. Why, am I dead ? do I not breathe a

man ?

* Ah, simple men, you know not what you swear.
*Look, as I blow this feather from my face,

* And as the air blows it to me again,

* Obeying with my wind when I do blow,

* And yielding to another when it blows,

* Commanded always by the greater gust ;

* Such is the lightness of you common men.

* But do not break your oaths ; for of that sin
*My mild entreaty shall not make you guilty.

* Go where you will, the king shall be commanded ;
*And be you kings; command, and I ll obey.



SC. II.] KING HENRY VI. 483

* 1 Keep. We are true subjects to the king, king

Edward.

* K. Hen. So would you be again to Henry,

* If he were seated as king Edward is.

1 Keep. We charge you, in God s name, and in the

^ king s,
To go with us unto the officers.

6 K. Hen. In God s name, lead ; your king s name
be obeyed :

* And what God will, then let your king perform ;

* And what he will, I humbly yield unto. [Exeunt.



SCENE II. London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter KING EDWARD, GLOSTER, CLARENCE, and
LADY GREY.

K. Edw. Brother of Gloster, at Saint Albans field
This lady s husband, sir John Grey, was slain,
His lands then seized on by the conqueror :
Her suit is now, to repossess those lands,
Which we injustice cannot well deny,
Because in quarrel of the house of York
The worthy gentleman did lose his life. 1

Glo. Your highness shall do well to grant her suit ;
* It were dishonor to deny it her.

1 This is in every particular a falsification of history. Sir John Grey
fell in the second battle of St. Albans, fighting on the side of king Henry ;
and so far is it from being true that his lands were seized by the conqueror
(queen Margaret), that they were, in fact, seized by king Edward after his
victory at Towton, 1461. The present scene is laid in 1464. Shakspeare
followed the old play in this instance ; but when he afterwards had occa
sion to mention this matter in writing his King Richard III., he stated it
truly as he found it in the Chronicles. In Act i. Sc. 2, of that play,
Richard, addressing himself to queen Elizabeth (the lady Grey of the
present scene), says :

" In all which time you and your husband Grey

Were factious for the house of Lancaster ;

(And, Rivers, so were you:) was not your husband

In Margaret s battle at Saint Albans slain ? "

Malone says that this circumstance, among numerous others, proves in-
contestably that Shakspeare was not the original author of this and the
preceding play.



484 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

K. Edw. It were no less ; but yet I ll make a pause.

4 Glo. Yea ! is it so ?
I see, the lady hath a thing to grant,
Before the king will grant her humble suit.

Clar. He knows the game ; how true he keeps the
wind ! [Aside.

Glo. Silence ! [Aside.

K. Edw. Widow, we will consider of your suit ;
4 And come some other time, to know our mind.

i L. Grey. Right gracious lord, I cannot brook de
lay :

6 May it please your highness to resolve me now ;
6 And what your pleasure is, shall satisfy me.

6 Glo. [Aside.] Ay, widow ? then I ll warrant you

all your lands,

< And if what pleases him shall pleasure you.
4 Fight closer, or, good faith, you ll catch a blow.

* Clar. I fear her not, unless she chance to fall.

[Aside.

* Glo. God forbid that ! for he ll take vantages.

[Aside.
i K. Edw. How many children hast thou, widow ?

tell me.
Clar. I think he means to beg a child of her.

[Aside.

Glo. Nay, whip me then ; he ll rather give her two.

[Aside.

L. Grey. Three, my most gracious lord.
Glo. You shall have four, if you ll be ruled by him.

[Aside.
6 K. Edw. Twere pity they should lose their

father s land.

L. Grey. Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it then.
K. Edw. Lords, give us leave ; I ll try this widow s

wit.
Glo. Ay, good leave have you ; for you will have

leave,
; Till youth take leave, and leave you to the crutch.

[GLOSTER and CLARENCE retire to the
other side.



SO. II.] KING HENRY VI. 485

* K. Edw. Now tell me, madam, do you love your

children ?

* L. Grey. Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.

* K. Edw. And would you not do much, to do them

good ?

* L. Grey. To do them good, I would sustain some

harm.

* K. Ediv. Then get your husband s lands, to do

them good.

* L. Grey. Therefore I came unto your majesty.
K. Edw. I ll tell you how these lands are to be got.

* L. Grey. So shall you bind me to your highness

service.

* K. Edw. What service wilt thou do me, if I give

them ?

* L. Grey. What you command, that rests in me

to do.

* K. Edw. But you will take exceptions to my

boon.

* L. Grey. No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.

* K. Edw. Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to

ask.

* L. Grey. Why, then I will do what your grace

commands.

* Glo. He plies her hard ; and much rain wears the

marble. [Aside.

* Clar. As red as fire ! nay, then her wax must melt.

[Aside.
L. Grey. Why stops my lord ? shall I not hear my

task ?

K. Edw. An easy task ; tis but to love a king.
L. Grey. That s soon performed, because I am a

subject.
K. Edw. Why, then thy husband s lands I freely

give thee.
L. Grey. I take my leave with many thousand

thanks.

Glo. The match is made ; she seals it with a curt sy.
< K. Edw. But stay thee ; tis the fruits of love I

mean.



486 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

* L. Grey. The fruits of love I mean, my loving

liege.

* K. Ediv. Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense.
What love, think st thou, I sue so much to get ?

4 L. Grey. My love till death, my humble thanks,

my prayers ;

That love which virtue begs and virtue grants.
K. Edw. No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.

* L. Grey. Why, then you mean not as I thought

you did.

* K. Edw. But now you partly may perceive my

mind.

* L. Grey. My mind will never grant what I per

ceive

* Your highness aims at, if I aim aright.

K. Edw. To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.

* L. Grey. To tell you plain, I had rather lie in

prison.

K. Edw. Why, then thou shall not have thy hus
band s lands.
L. Grey. Why, then mine honesty shall be my

dower ;
For by that loss 1 will not purchase them.

K. Edw. Therein thou wrong st thy children

mightily.
L. Grey. Herein your highness wrongs both them

and me.

But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
4 Accords not with the sadness of my suit ;
Please you dismiss me, either with ay, or no.

K. Edw. Ay ; if thou will say ay, to my request :
No ; if thou dost say no, to my demand.

L. Grey. Then, no, my lord. My suit is at an end.
4 Glo. The widow likes him not ; she knits her
brows. [Aside.

Clar. He is the bluntest wooer in Christendom.

[Aside.

c K. Edw. [Aside. ~\ Her looks do argue her replete
with modesty ;

* Her words do show her wit incomparable ;



SC. II.] KING HENRY VI. 487

* All her perfections challenge sovereignty.
One way, or other, she is for a king ;
And she shall be my love, or else my queen.
Say, that king Edward take thee for his queen ?
L. Grey. Tis better said than done, my gracious

lord.

I am a subject fit to jest withal,
But far unfit to be a sovereign.

K. Edw. Sweet widow, by my state I swear to

thee,

I speak no more than what my soul intends ;
And that is, to enjoy thee for my love.

L. Grey. And that is more than I will yield unto.
I know I am too mean to be your queen ;
And yet too good to be your concubine.

K. Edw. You cavil, widow ; I did mean, my queen.
L. Grey. Twill grieve your grace, my sons should

call you father.
K. Edw. No more than when thy daughters call

thee mother.

Thou art a widow, and thou hast some children ;
And, by God s mother, I, being but a bachelor.
Have other some ; why, tis a happy thing
To be the father unto many sons.
4 Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.
Glo. The ghostly father now hath done his shrift.

[Aside.

Clar. When he was made a shriver, twas for shift.

[Aside.
K. Edw. Brothers, you muse what chat we two

have had.
* Glo. The widow likes it not, for she looks very

sad.
K. Edw. You d think it strange if I should marry

her.

Clar. To whom, my lord ?

K. Edw. Why, Clarence, to myself.

Glo. That would be ten days wonder, at the least.
Clar. That s a day longer than a wonder lasts.
c Glo. By so much is the wonder in extremes.



488 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

K. Edw. Well, jest on, brothers ; I can tell you

both,
Her suit is granted for her husband s lands.

Enter a Nobleman.

Nob. My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken,
And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.

K. Edw. See that he be conveyed unto the Tower ;
c And go we, brothers, to the man that took him,
4 To question of his apprehension.
Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honorable.

[Exeunt KING EDWARD, LADY GREY,
CLARENCE, and Lord.

Glo. Ay, Edward will use women honorably.
Would he were wasted, marrow, bones, and all,
4 That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring,
< To cross me from the golden time I look for!
4 And yet between my soul s desire and me
*(The lustful Edward s title buried)
4 Is Clarence, Henry, and his son, young Edward,
4 And all the unlooked-for issue of their bodies,
c To take their rooms, ere I can place myself.
A cold premeditation for my purpose !
*Why, then I do but dream on sovereignty;

* Like one that stands upon a promontory,

* And spies a far-offshore where lie would tread,

* Wishing his foot were equal with his eye ;
*And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,

* Saying he ll lade it dry to have his way.

* So do I wish the crown, being so far off;
*And so I chide the means that keep me from it;
*And so I say I ll cut the causes off,

* Flattering me with impossibilities.

*My eye s too quick, my heart o erweens too much,

* Unless my hand and strength could equal them.

* Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard ;

* What other pleasure can the world afford ?
c I ll make my heaven in a lady s lap,

4 And deck my body in gay ornaments,



SC. II.] KING HENRY VI. 489

And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
4 O miserable thought ! and more unlikely,
Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns !
Why, love forswore me in my mother s womb.
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
4 To shrink mine arm up like a withered shrub ;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body ;
To shape my legs of an unequal size ;

* To disproportion me in every part,

* Like to a chaos, or an unlicked bear-whelp,
*That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be beloved ?

c O, monstrous fault, to harbor such a thought !
*Then, since this earth affords no joy to me,
*But to command, to check, to o erbear such

* As are of better person than myself,

* I ll make my heaven to dream upon the crown ;

* And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell,

* Until my head, that this misshaped trunk bears, 1
*Be round impaled with a glorious crown.

* And yet I know not how to get the crown,

* For many lives stand between me and home.

* And I like one lost in a thorny wood,

* That rents the thorns, and is rent with the thorns ;

* Seeking a way, and straying from the way,
*Not knowing how to find the open air,
*But toiling desperately to find it out

* Torment myself to catch the English crown ;

* And from that torment I will free myself,

* Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile ;

And cry, content, to that which grieves my heart ;

* And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,

* And frame my face to all occasions.

* I ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall ;

* I ll slay more gazers than the basilisk ;

1 The folio reads, Until my misshaped trunk, that bears this head.
VOL. iv. 62



490 THIRD PART OF [ACT II.

* I ll play the orator as well as Nestor,

* Deceive more slyly than Ulysses could,
*And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colors to the chameleon ;

Change shapes, with Proteus, for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel 1 to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown ?
4 Tut ! were it further off, I ll pluck it down. [Exit.



SCENE III. France. A Room in the Palace.

Flourish. Enter LEWIS, the French King, and LADY
BON A, attended ; the King takes his state. Then
enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD her Son,
and the EARL of OXFORD.

K. Lew. Fair queen of England, worthy Margaret,

[Rising.

i Sit down with us : it ill befits thy state,
c And birth, that thou shouldst stand, while Lewis
doth sit.

* Q. Mar. No, mighty king of France ; now Margaret
*Must strike her sail, and learn awhile to serve,

* Where kings command. I was, I must confess,

* Great Albion s queen in former golden days.
*But now mischance hath trod my title down,

* And with dishonor laid me on the ground ;

* Where I must take like seat unto my fortune,
*And to my humble seat conform myself.

* K. Lew. Why, say, fair queen, whence springs

this deep despair ?

* Q. Mar. From such a cause as fills mine eyes with

tears,

* And stops my tongue, while heart is drowned in cares.

* K. Lew. Whate er it be, be thou still like thyself,

* And sit thee by our side : yield not thy neck

[Seats her by him.

1 The old play reads, with more propriety,

" And set the aspiring Catiline to school."
By which the anachronism is also avoided.



SC. III.] KING HENRY VI. 491

* To fortune s yoke, but let thy dauntless mind

* Still ride in triumph over all mischance.
*Be plain, queen Margaret, and tell thy grief;

* It shall be eased, if France can yield relief.

* Q. Mar. Those gracious words revive my drooping

thoughts,

* And give my tongue-tied sorrows leave to speak.
*No\v, therefore, be it known to noble Lewis,

* That Henry, sole possessor of my love,

* Is, of a king, become a banished man,

* And forced to live in Scotland a forlorn ;

* While proud, ambitious Edward, duke of York,

* Usurps the regal title, and the seat

* Of England s true, anointed, lawful king.

* This is the cause, that 1, poor Margaret,
*With this my son, prince Edward, Henry s heir,

* Am come to crave thy just and lawful aid ;
4 And, if thou fail us, all our hope is done :

4 Scotland hath will to help, but cannot help ;

* Our people and our peers are both misled,

* Our treasure seized, our soldiers put to flight,

* And, as thou seest, ourselves in heavy plight.

* K. Lew. Renowned queen, with patience calm the

storm,

* While we bethink a means to break it off.

* Q. Mar. The more we stay, the stronger grows our

foe.

**K. Lew. The more I stay, the more I ll succor
thee.

* Q. Mar. O, but impatience waiteth on true sorrow :

* And see, where comes the breeder of my sorrow.

Enter WARWICK, 1 attended.

4 K. Lew. What s he, approacheth boldly to GUJ
presence ?

i This nobleman s embassy and commission, the insult he receives by
the king s hasty marriage, and his consequent resolution to avenge it,
with the capture, imprisonment, and escape of the king, Shakspeare found
in Hall and Holinshed ; but later as well as earlier writers of better au-



492 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

Q. Mar. Our earl of Warwick, Edward s greatest

friend.

K. Lew. Welcome, brave Warwick ! What brings
thee to France ?

[Descending from his state , Queen

MARGARET rises.

* Q. Mar. Ay, now begins a second storm to rise ;
*For this is he that moves both wind and tide.

War. From worthy Edward, king of Albion,
My lord and sovereign, and thy vowed friend,
I come, in kindness, and unfeigned love,
First, to do greetings to thy royal person ;
And, then, to crave a league of amity ;
And, lastly, to confirm that amity
With nuptial knot, if thou vouchsafe to grant
That virtuous lady Bona, thy fair sister,
To England s king in lawful marriage.

4 Q. Mar. If that go forward, Henry s hope is done.
War. And, gracious madam, [To BONA.] in our

king s behalf,

4 I am commanded, with your leave and favor,
Humbly to kiss your hand, and with my tongue
To tell the passion of my sovereign s heart ;
Where fame, late entering at his heedful ears,
Hath placed thy beauty s image, and thy virtue.

Q. Mar. King Lewis, and lady Bona, hear me

speak,
i Before you answer Warwick. His demand

* Springs not from Edward s well-meant, honest love,
*But from deceit, bred by necessity;

*For how can tyrants safely govern home,

* Unless abroad they purchase great alliance ?
*To prove him tyrant, this reason may suffice,



thority incline us to discredit the whole ; and to refer the rupture between
the king and his political creator to other causes. The king was privately
married to the lady Elizabeth Widville, in 1463, and in February, 14(35,
Warwick actually stood sponsor to the princess Elizabeth, their first
child. It should seem from the Annales of W. of Wyrcester, that no
open rupture had taken place between the king 1 and Warwick, up to the
beginning of November, 1468 ; at least, nothing appears to the contrary
in that historian, whose work is, unfortunately, defective from that period.



SC. III.] KING HEiNRY VI. 493

* That Henry liveth still ; but were he dead,
*Yet here prince Edward stands, king Henry s son.

* Look therefore, Lewis, that by this league and

marriage,

* Thou draw not on thy danger and dishonor ;

* For though usurpers sway the rule awhile,

* Yet Heavens are just, and time suppresseth wrongs.

War. Injurious Margaret !

Prince. And why not queen ?

War. Because thy father Henry did usurp;
And thou no more art prince, than she is queen.

Oxf. Then Warwick disannuls great John of Gaunt,
Which did subdue the greatest part of Spain ;
And, after John of Gaunt, Henry the Fourth,
4 Whose wisdom was a mirror to the wisest ;
And, after that wise prince, Henry the Fifth,
Who by his prowess conquered all France :
From these our Henry lineally descends.

War. Oxford, how haps it, in this smooth discourse,
You told not, how Henry the Sixth hath lost
All that which Henry the Fifth had gotten ?
Methinks these peers of France should smile at that.
But for the rest, you tell a pedigree
Of threescore and two years ; a silly time
To make prescription for a kingdom s worth.

1 Oxf. Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy

liege,

c Whom thou obey dst thirty and six years,
And not bewray thy treason with a blush ?

War. Can Oxford, that did ever fence the right,
Now buckler falsehood with a pedigree ?
For shame, leave Henry, and call Edward king.

Oxf. Call him my king, by whose injurious doom
4 My elder brother, the lord Aubrey Vere,
Was done to death ? and more than so, my father,
Even in the downfall of his mellowed years,
When nature brought him to the door of death ?
No, Warwick, no ; while life upholds this arm,
This arm upholds the house of Lancaster

War. And I the house of York.



494 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

K. Lew. Queen Margaret, prince Edward, and

Oxford,

4 Vouchsafe, at our request, to stand aside,
t While I use further conference with Warwick.

* Q. Mar. Heaven grant that Warwick s words be

witch him not !

[Retiring with the Prince and OXFORD.

4 K. Lew. Now, Warwick, tell me, even upon thy

conscience,

Is Edward your true king ? for I were loath
; To link with him that were not lawful chosen.

War. Thereon I pawn my credit and mine honor.

K. Lew. But is he gracious in the people s eye ?

War. The more, that Henry was unfortunate. 1

K. Lew. Then further, all dissembling set aside,
Tell me for truth the measure of his love
Unto our sister Bona.

War. Such it seems,

As may beseem a monarch like himself.
Myself have often heard him say, and swear,
That this his love was an eternal plant ;
Whereof the root was fixed in virtue s ground,
The leaves and fruit maintained with beauty s sim ;
Exempt from envy, but not from disdain,
Unless the lady Bona quit his pain.

K. Lew. Now, sister, let us hear your firm resolve.

Bona. Your grant, or your denial, shall be mine ;
Yet I confess, [To WAR.] that often ere this day,
When I have heard your king s desert recounted,
Mine ear hath tempted judgment to desire.

* K. Lew. Then, Warwick, thus Our sister shall

be Edward s ;

* And now forthwith shall articles be drawn

* Touching the jointure that your king must make,

* Which with her dowry shall be counterpoised.
Draw near, queen Margaret ; and be a witness,
That Bona shall be wife to the English king.

Prince. To Edward, but not to the English king.

1 He means, "that Henry was unsuccessful in war."



SC. III.] KING HENRY VI. 495

* Q. Mar. Deceitful Warwick ! it was thy device

* By this alliance to make void my suit ;

* Before thy coming Lewis was Henry s friend.

* K. Lew. And still is friend to him and Margaret;
*But if your title to the crown be weak,

* As may appear by Edward s good success,

* Then tis but reason that I be released

* From giving aid, which late I promised.

* Yet shall you have all kindness at my hand,

* That your estate requires, and mine can yield.

War. Henry now lives in Scotland, at his ease ;
Where having nothing, nothing he can lose.
And as for you yourself, our quondam queen,
You have a father able to maintain you ; :
And better twere, you troubled him than France.

* Q. Mar. Peace, impudent and shameless War

wick, peace ;

* Proud setter-up and puller-down of kings ! 2

* I will not hence, till with my talk and tears,
*Both full of truth, I make king Lewis behold

* Thy sly conveyance, 3 and thy lord s false love ;

* For both of you are birds of self-same feather.

\^A horn sounded within.
K. Lew. Warwick, this is some post to us, or thee.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord ambassador, these letters are for you,
Sent from your brother, marquis Montague.
These from our king unto your majesty.
And, madam, these for you ; from whom I know not.
[To MARGARET. They all read their letters.

Oxf. I like it well, that our fair queen and mistress
Smiles at her news, while Warwick frowns at his.



1 Johnson is inclined to think this ironical. The poverty of Margaret s
father was a frequent topic of reproach.

2 The queen here applies to Warwick the very words that king
Edward, p. 469, addresses to the Deity. It seems doubtful whether these
words in the former instance are not in the old play addressed to War
wick also.

3 Conveyance is used for any crafty artifice. The word has already
been explained.



496 THIRD PART OF [ACT III.

Prince. Nay, mark how Lewis stamps as he were
nettled.

* I hope all s for the best.

K. Lew. Warwick, what are thy news ? and yours,

fair queen ?
< Q. Mar. Mine, such as fill my heart with unhoped

JJ S -
War. Mine full of sorrow and heart s discontent.

K. Lew. What ! has your king married the lady

Grey ?

And now, to sooth l your forgery and his,
Sends me a paper to persuade me patience ?
< Is this the alliance that he seeks with France ?
4 Dare he presume to scorn us in this manner ?

* Q. Mar. I told your majesty as much before.
This proveth Edward s love, and Warwick s honesty.

War. King Lewis, I here protest, in sight of

Heaven,

And by the hope I have of heavenly bliss,
That I am clear from this misdeed of Edward s ;
No more my king, for lie dishonors me ;
But most himself, if he could see his shame.
Did I forget, that by the house of York
My father came untimely to his death ?
Did I let pass the abuse done to my niece ? 2
Did I impale him with the regal crown ?
Did I put Henry from his native right ;
And am I guerdoned at the last with shame ?

* Shame on himself! for my desert is honor.



Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) → online text (page 35 of 38)