Page images

York. So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty; So true men yield, with robbers so o'ermatch'd.


North. What would your grace have done unto him now?
Q. Mar. Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
Come make him stand upon this molehill here;
That raught at mountains with outstretched arms,
Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.-
What! was it you, that would be England's king?
Was't you that revell'd in our parliament,
And made a preachment of your high descent?
Where are your mess of sons to back you now?
The wanton Edward, and the lusty George?
And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy,
Dicky, your boy, that, with his grumbling voice,
Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?

Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood
That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point,
Made issue from the bosom of the boy:
And, if thine eyes can water for his death,
I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
Alas, poor York! but that I hate thee deadly,
I should lament thy miserable state.

I pr'ythee grieve, to make me merry, York;
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
What, hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails,
That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death?
Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad;
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport;
York cannot speak unless he wear a crown.-
A crown for York;-and, lords, bow low to him.-
Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.-

[Putting a paper crown on his head.

Ay, marry, Sir, now looks he like a king!
Ay, this is he that took king Henry's chair;
And this is he was his adopted heir.—
But how is it that great Plantagenet

Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath?
As I bethink me, you should not be king,

Till our king Henry had shook hands with death.
And will you pale§ your head in Henry's glory,
And rob his temples of the diadem,

Now in his life, against your holy oath?

O, 'tis a fault too, too unpardonable!

Off with the crown; and with the crown, his head;
And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.
Clif. That is my office, for my father's sake.

Q. Mar. Nay, stay; let's hear the orisons he makes.
York. She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,

* Honest.

+ Reached.

§ Impale, encircle with a crown.


Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth!
How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex,

To triumph like an Amazonian trull,

Upon their woes, whom fortune captivates ?
But that thy face is, visor-like, unchanging,
Made impudent with use of evil deeds,

I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush:

To tell thee whence thou cam'st, of whom derived,

Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless. Thy father bears the type of king of Naples,

Of both the Sicils, and Jerusalem;

Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen;
Unless the adage must be verified,-

That beggars, mounted, run their horse to death.
"Tis beauty, that doth oft make women proud;
But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small':
"Tis virtue, that doth make them most admired;
The contrary doth make thee wonder'd at:
'Tis government† 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, wrapp'd 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;

Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless,

Bid'st thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish:

Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will:
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,-.

'Gainst thee, fell Clifford,-and thee, false French-woman.
North. Beshrew me, but his passions § move me so,

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

Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd 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,

*The distinguishing mark.
The north.

+ Self-government.

§ Sufferings.

Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;

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 slaughter-man to all my kin,
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 Northumberland? 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!
My soul flies through these wounds to seek out thee.
Mar. Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
So York may overlook the town of York.




SCENE I-A plain near MORTIMER's Cross in Herefordshire. Drums.-Enter EDWARD, and RICHARD, with their forces, marching.

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, we would 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?
Rich. 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;

*Neat cattle.

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!
Edw. Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
Rich. 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.

Edw. "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.

Rich. Nay, bear three daughters ;—By your leave I speak it, You love the breeder better than the male.


But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell
Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue?
Mess. Ah, one that was a woeful looker-on,
When as the noble duke of York was slain,
Your princely father, and my loving lord.

Edw. O, speak no more! for I have heard too much.
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 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 despight;
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.

* The clouds in rapid tumultuary motion.

† Merit.

Edw. Sweet duke of York, our prop to lean upon;
Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay!-
O Clifford, boist 'rous 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.

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!-
Richard, I bear thy name, I'll venge thy death,
Or die renowned by attempting it.

Edw. His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
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.

War. How now, fair lords? What fare?


What news

Rich. Great lord of Warwick, if we should recount
Our baleful news, 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.

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

War. 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 since then befall'n.
After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought,
Where your brave father breathed his latest gasp,
Tidings, as swiftly as the post 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 towards Saint Albans to intercept the queen,
Bearing the king in my behalf along:

« PreviousContinue »