Page images
PDF
EPUB

And kneel for

grace

and
mercy

at my feet;
I am thy sovereign.
York.

I am thine.
Exe. For shame! come down : he made thee Duke

of York.
York. 'Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was.
Exe, Thy father was a traitor to the crown.

War. Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
In following this usurping Henry.

Clif. Whom should he follow but his natural king?
War. True, Clifford ; and that 's Richard, Duke of

York.
K. Hen. And shall I stand, and thou sit in my

throne ?
York. It must and shall be so : content thyself.
War. Be Duke of Lancaster : let him be king.

West. He is both king and Duke of Lancaster ; And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall maintain. War. And Warwick shall disprove it.

You forget That we are those which chas'd you from the field And slew your fathers, and with colours spread March'd through the city to the palace gates.

North. Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief; And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.

West. Plantagenet, of thee and these thy sons,
Thy kinsmen and thy friends, I 'll have more lives
Than drops of blood were in my father's veins.

Clif. Urge it no more ; lest that instead of words
I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
As shall revenge his death before I stir.
War. Poor Clifford ! how I scorn his worthless

threats.
York. Will you we show our title to the crown?
If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.

K. Hen. What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown ? Thy father was, as thou art, Duke of York;

[ocr errors]

Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March.
I am the son of Henry the Fifth,
Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop,
And seiz'd upon their towns and provinces.

War. Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.

K. Hen. The lord protector lost it, and not I: When I was crown'd I was but nine months old.

Rich. You are old enough now, and yet, methinks,

you lose.

Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.

Edw. Sweet father, do so; set it on your head. Mont. To YORK. Good brother, as thou lov'st and

honour'st arms, Let's fight it out and not stand cavilling thus. Rich. Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will

fly. York. Sons, peace ! K. Hen. Peace thou ! and give King Henry leave

to speak. War. Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him, lords; And be you silent and attentive too, For he that interrupts him shall not live. K. Hen. Think'st thou that I will leave my kingly

throne,
Wherein my grandsire and my father sat ?
No: first shall war unpeople this my realm ;
Ay, and their colours, often borne in France,
And now in England to our heart's great sorrow,
Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords ?
My title 's good, and better far than his.

War. Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.
K. Hen. Henry the Fourth by conquest got the

crown.

York. 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
K. Hen. Aside. I know not what to say: my title 's

weak,

[ocr errors]

Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir ?

York. What then?

K. Hen. An if he may, then am I lawful king ;
For Richard, in the view of many lords,
Resign'd the crown to Henry the Fourth,
Whose heir my father was, and I am his.

York. He rose against him, being his sovereign,
And made him to resign his crown perforce.

War. Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain'd, Think you 'twere prejudicial to his crown?

Exe. No; for he could not so resign his crown
But that the next heir should succeed and reign.

K. Hen. Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter ?
Exe. His is the right, and therefore pardon me.
York. Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?
Exe. My conscience tells me he is lawful king.
K. Hen. All will revolt from me, and turn to him.

North. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay'st,
Think not that Henry shall be so depos’d.

War. Depos'd he shall be in despite of all.
North. Thou art deceiv'd: 'tis not thy southern

power,
Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,
Can set the duke up in despite of me.

Clif. King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence :
May that ground gape and swallow me alive,
Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father!
K. Hen. O Clifford, how thy words revive my

heart !
York. Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.
What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?

War. Do right unto this princely Duke of York,
Or I will fill the house with armed men,
And o'er the chair of state, where now he sits,

:

Write up his title with usurping blood.
He stamps with his foot, anil the Soldiers

show themselves. K. Hen. My Lord of Warwick, hear me but one

word : Let me for this my life-time reign as king.

York. Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs, And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou liv'st.

K. Hen. I am content: Richard Plantagenet,
Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.

Clif. What wrong is this unto the prince your son !
War. What good is this to England and himself !
West. Base, fearful, and despairing Henry !
Clif. How hast thou injur'd both thyself and us !
West. I cannot stay to hear these articles.
North. Nor I.
Clif. Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these news.

West. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king, In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.

North. Be thou a prey unto the house of York, And die in bands for this unmanly deed !

Clif. In dreadful war may'st thou be overcome, Or live in peace abandon'd and despis'd ! Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, CLIFFORD, and

WESTMORELAND. War. Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not. Exe. They seek revenge and therefore will not yield. K. Hen. Ah! Exeter. War.

Why should you sigh, my lord ? K. Hen. Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son, Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit. But be it as it may; I here entail The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever; Conditionally, that here thou take an oath To cease this civil war, and, whilst I live, To honour me as thy king and sovereign;

[ocr errors]

And neither by treason nor hostility
To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
York. This oath I willingly take and will perform.

Coming from the throne.
War. Long live King Henry! Plantagenet, em-

brace him. K. Hen. And long live thou and these thy forward

sons ! York. Now York and Lancaster are reconcil'd. Exe. Accurs'd be he that seeks to make them foes !

Sennet. The Lords come forward. York. Farewell, my gracious lord : I'll to my castle. War. And I 'll keep London with my soldiers. Norf. And I to Norfolk with

my

followers. Mont. And I unto the sea from whence I came.

Exeunt York and his Sons, WARWICK, NOR

FOLK, MONTAGUE, Soldiers, and Attendants. K. Hen. And I, with grief and sorrow, to the court. Enter Queen MARGARET and the Prince of WALES. Exe. Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray

her anger : I'll steal away.

K. Hen. Exeter, so will I.
Q. Mar. Nay, go not from me; I will follow thee.
K. Hen. Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay,

Q. Mar. Who can be patient in such extremes ?
Ah! wretched man; would I had died a maid,
And never seen thee, never borne thee son,
Seeing thou hast prov'd so unnatural a father.
Hath he deserv'd to lose his birthright thus ?
Hadst thou but lov'd him half so well as I,
Or felt that pain which I did for him once,
Or nourish'd him as I did with my blood,
Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there,
Rather than have made that savage duke thine heir,

[ocr errors]

a

« PreviousContinue »