2 KING HENRY VI


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Act V

Scene I Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.

[Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum
and colours]
YORK From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,
To entertain great England's lawful king.
Ah! sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear?
Let them obey that know not how to rule;
This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
I cannot give due action to my words,
Except a sword or sceptre balance it:
A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
[Enter BUCKINGHAM]
Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?
The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble.
BUCKINGHAM York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
YORK Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
BUCKINGHAM A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
Should raise so great a power without his leave,
Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
YORK [Aside] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great:
O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
I am so angry at these abject terms;
And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
I am far better born than is the king,
More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts:
But I must make fair weather yet a while,
Till Henry be more weak and I more strong,--
Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
That I have given no answer all this while;
My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
The cause why I have brought this army hither
Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
Seditious to his grace and to the state.
BUCKINGHAM That is too much presumption on thy part:
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand:
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
YORK Upon thine honour, is he prisoner?
BUCKINGHAM Upon mine honour, he is prisoner.
YORK Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.
Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;
Meet me to-morrow in St. George's field,
You shall have pay and every thing you wish.
And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry,
Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
As pledges of my fealty and love;
I'll send them all as willing as I live:
Lands, goods, horse, armour, any thing I have,
Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
BUCKINGHAM York, I commend this kind submission:
We twain will go into his highness' tent.
[Enter KING HENRY VI and Attendants]
KING HENRY VI Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,
That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
YORK In all submission and humility
York doth present himself unto your highness.
KING HENRY VI Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?
YORK To heave the traitor Somerset from hence,
And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
Who since I heard to be discomfited.
[Enter IDEN, with CADE'S head]
IDEN If one so rude and of so mean condition
May pass into the presence of a king,
Lo, I present your grace a traitor's head,
The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
KING HENRY VI The head of Cade! Great God, how just art Thou!
O, let me view his visage, being dead,
That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
IDEN I was, an't like your majesty.
KING HENRY VI How art thou call'd? and what is thy degree?
IDEN Alexander Iden, that's my name;
A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.
BUCKINGHAM So please it you, my lord, 'twere not amiss
He were created knight for his good service.
KING HENRY VI Iden, kneel down.
[He kneels]
Rise up a knight.
We give thee for reward a thousand marks,
And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
IDEN May Iden live to merit such a bounty.
And never live but true unto his liege!
[Rises]
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET and SOMERSET]
KING HENRY VI See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with the queen:
Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.
QUEEN MARGARET For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
But boldly stand and front him to his face.
YORK How now! is Somerset at liberty?
Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd thoughts,
And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
King did I call thee? no, thou art not king,
Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
Which darest not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor.
That head of thine doth not become a crown;
Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff,
And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
Is able with the change to kill and cure.
Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up
And with the same to act controlling laws.
Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more
O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
SOMERSET O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown;
Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
YORK Wouldst have me kneel? first let me ask of these,
If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail;
[Exit Attendant]
I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
QUEEN MARGARET Call hither Clifford! bid him come amain,
To say if that the bastard boys of York
Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
[Exit BUCKINGHAM]
YORK O blood-besotted Neapolitan,
Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!
The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those
That for my surety will refuse the boys!
[Enter EDWARD and RICHARD]
See where they come: I'll warrant they'll
make it good.
[Enter CLIFFORD and YOUNG CLIFFORD]
QUEEN MARGARET And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.
CLIFFORD Health and all happiness to my lord the king!
[Kneels]
YORK I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?
Nay, do not fright us with an angry look;
We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again;
For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
CLIFFORD This is my king, York, I do not mistake;
But thou mistakest me much to think I do:
To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?
KING HENRY VI Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
Makes him oppose himself against his king.
CLIFFORD He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,
And chop away that factious pate of his.
QUEEN MARGARET He is arrested, but will not obey;
His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
YORK Will you not, sons?
EDWARD Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.
RICHARD And if words will not, then our weapons shall.
CLIFFORD Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!
YORK Look in a glass, and call thy image so:
I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.
Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
That with the very shaking of their chains
They may astonish these fell-lurking curs:
Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.
[Enter the WARWICK and SALISBURY]
CLIFFORD Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death.
And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
If thou darest bring them to the baiting place.
RICHARD Oft have I seen a hot o'erweening cur
Run back and bite, because he was withheld;
Who, being suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,
Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs and cried:
And such a piece of service will you do,
If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
CLIFFORD Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
YORK Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
CLIFFORD Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.
KING HENRY VI Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?
Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!
What, wilt thou on thy death-bed play the ruffian,
And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
If it be banish'd from the frosty head,
Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?
Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
And shame thine honourable age with blood?
Why art thou old, and want'st experience?
Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me
That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
SALISBURY My lord, I have consider'd with myself
The title of this most renowned duke;
And in my conscience do repute his grace
The rightful heir to England's royal seat.
KING HENRY VI Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
SALISBURY I have.
KING HENRY VI Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
SALISBURY It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
Who can be bound by any solemn vow
To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
To wring the widow from her custom'd right,
And have no other reason for this wrong
But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
QUEEN MARGARET A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
KING HENRY VI Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
YORK Call Buckingham, and all the friends thou hast,
I am resolved for death or dignity.
CLIFFORD The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.
WARWICK You were best to go to bed and dream again,
To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
CLIFFORD I am resolved to bear a greater storm
Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
And that I'll write upon thy burgonet,
Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
WARWICK Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,
The rampant bear chain'd to the ragged staff,
This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,
As on a mountain top the cedar shows
That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,
Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
CLIFFORD And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear
And tread it under foot with all contempt,
Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear.
YOUNG CLIFFORD And so to arms, victorious father,
To quell the rebels and their complices.
RICHARD Fie! charity, for shame! speak not in spite,
For you shall sup with Jesu Christ to-night.
YOUNG CLIFFORD Foul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell.
RICHARD If not in heaven, you'll surely sup in hell.
[Exeunt severally]

Scene II Saint Alban's.

[Alarums to the battle. Enter WARWICK]
WARWICK Clifford of Cumberland, 'tis Warwick calls:
And if thou dost not hide thee from the bear,
Now, when the angry trumpet sounds alarum
And dead men's cries do fill the empty air,
Clifford, I say, come forth and fight with me:
Proud northern lord, Clifford of Cumberland,
Warwick is hoarse with calling thee to arms.
[Enter YORK]
How now, my noble lord? what, all afoot?
YORK The deadly-handed Clifford slew my steed,
But match to match I have encounter'd him
And made a prey for carrion kites and crows
Even of the bonny beast he loved so well.
[Enter CLIFFORD]
WARWICK Of one or both of us the time is come.
YORK Hold, Warwick, seek thee out some other chase,
For I myself must hunt this deer to death.
WARWICK Then, nobly, York; 'tis for a crown thou fight'st.
As I intend, Clifford, to thrive to-day,
It grieves my soul to leave thee unassail'd.
[Exit]
CLIFFORD What seest thou in me, York? why dost thou pause?
YORK With thy brave bearing should I be in love,
But that thou art so fast mine enemy.
CLIFFORD Nor should thy prowess want praise and esteem,
But that 'tis shown ignobly and in treason.
YORK So let it help me now against thy sword
As I in justice and true right express it.
CLIFFORD My soul and body on the action both!
YORK A dreadful lay! Address thee instantly.
[They fight, and CLIFFORD falls]
CLIFFORD La fin couronne les oeuvres.
[Dies]
YORK Thus war hath given thee peace, for thou art still.
Peace with his soul, heaven, if it be thy will!
[Exit]
[Enter YOUNG CLIFFORD]
YOUNG CLIFFORD Shame and confusion! all is on the rout;
Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds
Where it should guard. O war, thou son of hell,
Whom angry heavens do make their minister
Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part
Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly.
He that is truly dedicate to war
Hath no self-love, nor he that loves himself
Hath not essentially but by circumstance
The name of valour.
[Seeing his dead father]
O, let the vile world end,
And the premised flames of the last day
Knit earth and heaven together!
Now let the general trumpet blow his blast,
Particularities and petty sounds
To cease! Wast thou ordain'd, dear father,
To lose thy youth in peace, and to achieve
The silver livery of advised age,
And, in thy reverence and thy chair-days, thus
To die in ruffian battle? Even at this sight
My heart is turn'd to stone: and while 'tis mine,
It shall be stony. York not our old men spares;
No more will I their babes: tears virginal
Shall be to me even as the dew to fire,
And beauty that the tyrant oft reclaims
Shall to my flaming wrath be oil and flax.
Henceforth I will not have to do with pity:
Meet I an infant of the house of York,
Into as many gobbets will I cut it
As wild Medea young Absyrtus did:
In cruelty will I seek out my fame.
Come, thou new ruin of old Clifford's house:
As did AEneas old Anchises bear,
So bear I thee upon my manly shoulders;
But then AEneas bare a living load,
Nothing so heavy as these woes of mine.
[Exit, bearing off his father]
[Enter RICHARD and SOMERSET to fight. SOMERSET
is killed]
RICHARD So, lie thou there;
For underneath an alehouse' paltry sign,
The Castle in Saint Alban's, Somerset
Hath made the wizard famous in his death.
Sword, hold thy temper; heart, be wrathful still:
Priests pray for enemies, but princes kill.
[Exit]
[Fight: excursions. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN
MARGARET, and others]
QUEEN MARGARET Away, my lord! you are slow; for shame, away!
KING HENRY VI Can we outrun the heavens? good Margaret, stay.
QUEEN MARGARET What are you made of? you'll nor fight nor fly:
Now is it manhood, wisdom and defence,
To give the enemy way, and to secure us
By what we can, which can no more but fly.
[Alarum afar off]
If you be ta'en, we then should see the bottom
Of all our fortunes: but if we haply scape,
As well we may, if not through your neglect,
We shall to London get, where you are loved
And where this breach now in our fortunes made
May readily be stopp'd.
[Re-enter YOUNG CLIFFORD]
YOUNG CLIFFORD But that my heart's on future mischief set,
I would speak blasphemy ere bid you fly:
But fly you must; uncurable discomfit
Reigns in the hearts of all our present parts.
Away, for your relief! and we will live
To see their day and them our fortune give:
Away, my lord, away!
[Exeunt]

Scene III Fields near St. Alban's.

[Alarum. Retreat. Enter YORK, RICHARD, WARWICK,
and Soldiers, with drum and colours]
YORK Of Salisbury, who can report of him,
That winter lion, who in rage forgets
Aged contusions and all brush of time,
And, like a gallant in the brow of youth,
Repairs him with occasion? This happy day
Is not itself, nor have we won one foot,
If Salisbury be lost.
RICHARD My noble father,
Three times to-day I holp him to his horse,
Three times bestrid him; thrice I led him off,
Persuaded him from any further act:
But still, where danger was, still there I met him;
And like rich hangings in a homely house,
So was his will in his old feeble body.
But, noble as he is, look where he comes.
[Enter SALISBURY]
SALISBURY Now, by my sword, well hast thou fought to-day;
By the mass, so did we all. I thank you, Richard:
God knows how long it is I have to live;
And it hath pleased him that three times to-day
You have defended me from imminent death.
Well, lords, we have not got that which we have:
'Tis not enough our foes are this time fled,
Being opposites of such repairing nature.
YORK I know our safety is to follow them;
For, as I hear, the king is fled to London,
To call a present court of parliament.
Let us pursue him ere the writs go forth.
What says Lord Warwick? shall we after them?
WARWICK After them! nay, before them, if we can.
Now, by my faith, lords, 'twas a glorious day:
Saint Alban's battle won by famous York
Shall be eternized in all age to come.
Sound drums and trumpets, and to London all:
And more such days as these to us befall!
[Exeunt]

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