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I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
North. Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
Clif. Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm 31
With downright payment show'd unto my father.
Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car,
And made an evening at the noontide prick.
York. My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all;
And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with.
Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?
Clif. So cowards fight when they can fly no
So doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons;
So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
Breathe out invectives 'gainst the officers.
York. O Clifford but bethink thee once again,
And in thy thought o'errun my former time;
And, if thou canst for blushing, view this face,
And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with
Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this.
Clif. I will not bandy with thee word for word, But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one. Draws.
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus. 9
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
Thou would'st 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.
Puts 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
Q. Mar. Hold, valiant Clifford for a thousand causes
I would prolong awhile the traitor's life.
Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northum-
North. Hold, Clifford! do not honour him so
To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart.
What valour were it, when a cur doth grin,
For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
When he might spurn him with his foot away?
It is war's prize to take all vantages,
And ten to one is no impeach of valour.
They lay hands on YORK, who struggles. Clif. Ay, ay so strives the woodcock with the gin.
North. So doth the cony struggle in the net. 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 North-
Come, make him stand upon this molehill here,
That raught at mountains with outstretched
I prithee grieve, to make me merry, York.
What! hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine
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 80
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.
That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death! Why art thou patient, man? thou should'st be mad;
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
York. She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,
Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's
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, vizard-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 deriv'd,
Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou
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 admir'd;
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 could'st 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.
Bidd'st thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy
Would'st have me weep? why, now thou hast
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-
North. Beshrew me, but his passions move
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,
0! 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;
And if thou tell'st the heavy story right,
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
So far'd our father with his enemies;
So fled his enemies my war-like 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
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
I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
Each one already blazing by our meeds,
And over-shine the earth, as this the world.
Should not withstanding join our lights together,
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.
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, 170
To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.
Q. Mar. What! weeping-ripe, my Lord North-
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
Q. Mar. And here's to right our gentle-
York. Open thy gate of mercy, gracious God!
My soul flies through these wounds to seek out
Q. Mar. Off with his head, and set it on York gates:
So York may overlook the town of York.
-A Plain near Mortimer's Cross in
Enter EDWARD and RICHARD,
with their Power.
Enter a Messenger.
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.
Edir. O! speak no more, for I have heard too
Edw. I wonder how our princely father 'scap'd,
Or whether he be 'scap'd 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 'scap'd, 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 resolv'd
Where our right valiant father is become.
I saw him in the battle
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 ;
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 subdu'd;
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
The ruthless queen gave him to dry his cheeks
A napkin steeped in the harmless blood
Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain:
They took his head, and on the gates of York
And after many scorns, many foul taunts,
They set the same; and there it doth remain,
The saddest spectacle that e'er I view'd.
Edw. Sweet Duke of York! our prop to lean
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.
Ah! would she break from hence, that this my
Now my soul's palace is become a prison:
Rich. I cannot weep, for all my body's moisture | And we in them no hope to win the day; Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning 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, 14 Making another head to fight again.
Edw. Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle
And when came George from Burgundy to
War. Some six miles off the duke is with the
And for your brother, he was lately sent
From your kind aunt, Duchess of Burgundy,
With aid of soldiers to this needful war.
Rich. 'Twas odds, belike, when valiant War-
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
For thou shalt know this strong right hand of
Nor can my tongue unload my heart's great
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
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
His dukedom and his chair with me is left.
Rich. Nay, if thou be that princely cagle'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 their Army. War. How now, fair lords! what news abroad?
Rich. Great Lord of Warwick, if we should
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
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
And now, to add more measure to your woes,
I come to tell you things sith then befallen.
After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought,
Where your brave father breath'd 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
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, 120
Our battles join'd, and both sides fiercely fought:
But whether 'twas the coldness of the king,
Who look'd full gently on his war-like 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, 130
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,
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 fam'd for mildness, peace, and prayer.
Rich. I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame
'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, 18
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
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, 170
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
Amongst the loving Welshmen canst procure, 18
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,
That cries Retire,' if Warwick bid him stay.
Edw. 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!
War. No longer Earl of March, but Duke of
The next degree is England's royal throne;
For King of England shalt thou be proclaim'd
In every borough as we pass along ;
Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart And he that throws not up his cap for joy To hold thine own and leave thine own with him. Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head. K. Hen. Full well bath Clifford play'd the King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
Stay we no longer dreaming of renown, Inferring arguments of mighty force.
But sound the trumpets, and about our task. 200 But, Clifford, tell me, didst thou never hear
Rich. Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard That things ill got had ever bad success?
And happy always was it for that son
As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds, Whose father for his hoarding went to hell ?
I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine. I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
Elle. Then strike up, drums! God and Saint And would my father had left me no more !
George for us !
For all the rest is held at such a rate
As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep
Enter a Messenger.
Than in possession any jot of pleasure.
War. How now! what news ?
Ah! cousin York, would thy best friends did Mess. The Duke of Norfolk sends you
know by me,
How it doth grieve me that thy head is here. The qneen is coming with a puissant host; Q. Mar. My lord, cheer up your spirits: our foes And craves your company for speedy counsel. are nigh, War. Why then it sorts ; brave warriors, let's And this soft courage makes your followers faint. away,
Eceunt. You promis'd knighthood to our forward son :
Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently. SCENE II.-Before York.
Edward, kneel down.
K. Hen. Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight ; Plourish. Enter King HENRY, Queen MAR. And learn this lesson : draw thy sword in right.
GARET, the Prince of WALES, CLIFFORD, and Prince. My gracious father, by your kingly
NORTHUMBERLAND, with drums and trumpets. leave,
Q. Mar. Welcome, my lord, to this brave I'll draw it as apparent to the crown,
town of York.
And in that quarrel use it to the death.
Yonder's the head of that arch-enemy
Clif. Why, that is spoken like a toward prince. That sought to be encompass'd with your crown:
Enter a Messenger. Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord ? K. Hon. Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear Mess. Royal commanders, be in readiness : their wreck :
For with a band of thirty thousand men To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
Comes Warwick, backing of the Duke of York ; Withhold revenge, dear God! 'tis not my fault, And in the towns, as they do march along, Nor wittingly have I infring'd my vow.
Proclaims him king, and many fly to him. Clif. My gracious liege, this too much lenity Darraign your battle, for they are at hand. And harmful pity must be laid aside.
Clif. I would your highness would depart the To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
field: Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
The queen hath best success when you are Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick ? absent. Not his that spoils her young before her face. Q. Mar. Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our
fortune. Who 'scapes the lurking serpent's mortal sting? Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
K. llen. Why, that's my fortune too; there
fore I 'll stay. The smallest worm will turn being trodden on, And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood,
North. Be it with resolution then to fight. Ambitious York did level at thy crown;
Prince. My royal father, cheer these noble Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows: 20
lords, He, but a duke, would have his son a king, And hearten those that fight in your defence. And raise his issue like a loving sire ;
Unsheathe your sword, good father : cry, 'Saint Thou, being a king, bless'd with a goodly son, George!' Didst yield consent to disinherit him,
March. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD, Which argu'd thee a most unloving father. Unreasonable creatures feed their young ;
WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, and
And though man's face be fearful to their eyes,
Yet, in protection of their tender ones,
Edw. Now, perjur'd Henry, wilt thou kneel
Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
Which sometime they have us'd with fearful And set thy diadem upon my head ;
Or bide the mortal fortune of the field ? Make war with him that climb'd unto their nest, Q. Mar. Go, rate thy minions, proud insults Offering their own lives in their young's defence ? ing boy ! For shame, my liege! make them your precedent. Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms Were it not pity that this goodly boy
Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king ? Should lose his birthright by his father's fault, Edr. I am his king, and he should bow his And long hereafter say unto his child, "What my great-grandfather and grandsire got I was adopted heir by liis consent : My careless father fondly gave away'?
Since when, his oath is broke ; for, as I hear, Ah! what a shame were this. Look on the boy; You, that are king, though he do wear the crown, And let his manly face, which promiseth 40 Have caus'd him, hy new act of parliament, 91
To blot out me, and put his own son in.
Clif. And reason too :
Who should succeed the father but the son? Rich. Are you there, butcher? O! I cannot speak.
Clif. Ay, crook-back; here I stand to answer thee,
Or any he the proudest of thy sort.
Rich. 'Twas you that kill'd young Rutland, was
Clif. Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied. Rich. For God's sake, lords, give signal to the fight.
Cannot be cur'd by words; therefore be still.
Rich. Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword.
By him that made us all, I am resolv'd
That Clifford's manhood lies upon his tongue.
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 armour on. Prince. If that be right which Warwick says is right,
There is no wrong, but every thing is right. 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
But like a foul misshapen stigmatic,
Mark'd 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 should be call'd the sea,
Sham'st thou not, knowing whence thou art
Edw. A wisp of straw were worth a thousand
To make this shameless callat 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 tam'd 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 grac'd thy poor sire with his bridal day,
Even then that sunshine brew'da showerfor 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.
Geo. 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 our-
Yet know thou, since we have begun to strike,
We'll never leave till we have hewn thee down,
Or bath'd thy growing with our heated bloods.
Edw. And in this resolution I defy thee; 1:
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.
Q. Mar. Stay, Edward.
Edw. No, wrangling woman, we 'll no longer stay: These words will cost ten thousand lives this day. Exeunt.
SCENE III-A Field of Battle near Towton. Alarums. Excursions. Enter WARWICK.
War. Forspent with toil, as runners with a race,
I lay me down a little while to breathe;
For strokes receiv'd, and many blows repaid,
Have robb'd my strong-knit sinews of their
And spite of spite needs must I rest awhile.
Enter EDWARD, running.
Edw. Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle death!
For this world frowns, and Edward's sun is
War. How now, my lord! what hap? what hope of good?
Our ranks are broke, and ruin follows us.
Geo. Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair,
What counsel give you? whither shall we fly!
Edw. Bootless is flight, they follow us with
And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.
Rich. Ah! Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn thyself?
Thy brother's blood the thirsty carth hath drunk. Broach'd with the steely point of Clifford's lance;