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Henry VI, Part 2 - Act 5, scene 1
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 2 - Act 5, scene 1
Act 5, scene 1
Buckingham seemingly placates York, and King Henry rewards Iden. York, seeing Somerset at liberty, announces his claim to the throne, and his supporters openly oppose those of King Henry.Enter York, ⌜wearing the white rose,⌝ and his army of
Irish, with ⌜Attendants,⌝ Drum and Colors.
2864 From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right
2865 And pluck the crown from feeble Henry’s head.
2866 Ring, bells, aloud! Burn, bonfires, clear and bright
2867 To entertain great England’s lawful king!
2868 5 Ah, sancta maiestas, who would not buy thee dear?
2869 Let them obey that knows not how to rule.
2870 This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
2871 I cannot give due action to my words
2872 Except a sword or scepter balance it.
2873 10 A scepter shall it have, have I a soul,
2874 On which I’ll toss the fleur-de-luce of France.
Enter Buckingham, ⌜wearing the red rose.⌝
2875 ⌜Aside.⌝ Whom have we here? Buckingham, to
2876 disturb me?
2877 The King hath sent him, sure. I must dissemble.
2878 15 York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
2879 Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
2880 Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
2881 A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
2882 To know the reason of these arms in peace;
2883 20 Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
2884 Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
2885 Should raise so great a power without his leave,
2886 Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
2887 Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great.
2888 25 O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
2889 I am so angry at these abject terms!
2890 And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
2891 On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
2892 I am far better born than is the King,
2893 30 More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts.
2894 But I must make fair weather yet awhile,
2895 Till Henry be more weak and I more strong.—
2896 Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
2897 That I have given no answer all this while.
2898 35 My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
2899 The cause why I have brought this army hither
2900 Is to remove proud Somerset from the King,
2901 Seditious to his Grace and to the state.
2902 That is too much presumption on thy part.
2903 40 But if thy arms be to no other end,
2904 The King hath yielded unto thy demand:
2905 The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
2906 Upon thine honor, is he prisoner?
2907 Upon mine honor, he is prisoner.
2908 45 Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.—
2909 Soldiers, I thank you all. Disperse yourselves.
p. 2272910 Meet me tomorrow in Saint George’s field;
2911 You shall have pay and everything you wish.
2912 And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry,
2913 50 Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
2914 As pledges of my fealty and love;
2915 I’ll send them all as willing as I live.
2916 Lands, goods, horse, armor, anything I have
2917 Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
2918 55 York, I commend this kind submission.
2919 We twain will go into his Highness’ tent.
⌜They walk arm in arm.⌝
Enter King ⌜Henry⌝ and Attendants.
2920 Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us
2921 That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
2922 In all submission and humility
2923 60 York doth present himself unto your Highness.
2924 Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?
2925 To heave the traitor Somerset from hence
2926 And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
2927 Who since I heard to be discomfited.
Enter Iden, with Cade’s head.
2928 65 If one so rude and of so mean condition
2929 May pass into the presence of a king,
2930 Lo, I present your Grace a traitor’s head,
2931 The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
2932 The head of Cade? Great God, how just art Thou!
p. 2292933 70 O, let me view his visage, being dead,
2934 That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
2935 Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
IDEN 2936 I was, an ’t like your Majesty.
2937 How art thou called? And what is thy degree?
2938 75 Alexander Iden, that’s my name,
2939 A poor esquire of Kent that loves his king.
2940 So please it you, my lord, ’twere not amiss
2941 He were created knight for his good service.
2942 Iden, kneel down. ⌜He kneels.⌝ Rise up a knight. ⌜He
2943 80 We give thee for reward a thousand marks,
2944 And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
2945 May Iden live to merit such a bounty,
2946 And never live but true unto his liege!
Enter Queen ⌜Margaret⌝ and Somerset,
⌜wearing the red rose.⌝
KING HENRY, ⌜aside to Buckingham⌝
2947 See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with th’ Queen.
2948 85 Go bid her hide him quickly from the Duke.
⌜Buckingham whispers to the Queen.⌝
2949 For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
2950 But boldly stand and front him to his face.
2951 How now? Is Somerset at liberty?
2952 Then, York, unloose thy long-imprisoned thoughts,
2953 90 And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
2954 Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?—
2955 False king, why hast thou broken faith with me,
p. 2312956 Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
2957 “King” did I call thee? No, thou art not king,
2958 95 Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
2959 Which dar’st not—no, nor canst not—rule a traitor.
2960 That head of thine doth not become a crown;
2961 Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer’s staff,
2962 And not to grace an awful princely scepter.
2963 100 That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
2964 Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles’ spear,
2965 Is able with the change to kill and cure.
2966 Here is a hand to hold a scepter up
2967 And with the same to act controlling laws.
2968 105 Give place. By heaven, thou shalt rule no more
2969 O’er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
2970 O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
2971 Of capital treason ’gainst the King and crown.
2972 Obey, audacious traitor. Kneel for grace.
2973 110 Wouldst have me kneel? First let me ask of ⌜these⌝
2974 If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
2975 ⌜To an Attendant.⌝ Sirrah, call in my ⌜sons⌝ to be my
2976 bail.⌜Attendant exits.⌝
2977 I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
2978 115 They’ll pawn their swords ⌜for⌝ my enfranchisement.
QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜to Buckingham⌝
2979 Call hither Clifford; bid him come amain,
2980 To say if that the bastard boys of York
2981 Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
YORK, ⌜to Queen Margaret⌝
2982 O, blood-bespotted Neapolitan,
2983 120 Outcast of Naples, England’s bloody scourge!
2984 The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
2985 Shall be their father’s bail, and bane to those
2986 That for my surety will refuse the boys.
p. 233Enter ⌜York’s sons⌝ Edward and Richard,
⌜wearing the white rose.⌝
2987 See where they come; I’ll warrant they’ll make it
2988 125 good.
Enter ⌜old⌝ Clifford ⌜and his Son, wearing the red rose.⌝
2989 And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.
CLIFFORD, ⌜kneeling before King Henry⌝
2990 Health and all happiness to my lord the King.
2991 I thank thee, Clifford. Say, what news with thee?
2992 Nay, do not fright us with an angry look.
2993 130 We are thy sovereign, Clifford; kneel again.
2994 For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
2995 This is my king, York; I do not mistake,
2996 But thou mistakes me much to think I do.—
2997 To Bedlam with him! Is the man grown mad?
2998 135 Ay, Clifford, a bedlam and ambitious humor
2999 Makes him oppose himself against his king.
3000 He is a traitor. Let him to the Tower,
3001 And chop away that factious pate of his.
3002 He is arrested, but will not obey.
3003 140 His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
YORK 3004 Will you not, sons?
3005 Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.
3006 And if words will not, then our weapons shall.
3007 Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!
3008 145 Look in a glass, and call thy image so.
3009 I am thy king and thou a false-heart traitor.
3010 Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
3011 That, with the very shaking of their chains,
3012 They may astonish these fell-lurking curs.
3013 150 ⌜To an Attendant.⌝ Bid Salisbury and Warwick come
3014 to me.⌜Attendant exits.⌝
Enter the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury, ⌜wearing the
3015 Are these thy bears? We’ll bait thy bears to death
3016 And manacle the bearherd in their chains,
3017 If thou dar’st bring them to the baiting place.
3018 155 Oft have I seen a hot o’erweening cur
3019 Run back and bite because he was withheld,
3020 Who, being suffered with the bear’s fell paw,
3021 Hath clapped his tail between his legs and cried;
3022 And such a piece of service will you do
3023 160 If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
3024 Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
3025 As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
3026 Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
3027 Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.
3028 165 Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?—
3029 Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
3030 Thou mad misleader of thy brainsick son!
3031 What, wilt thou on thy deathbed play the ruffian
3032 And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
3033 170 O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
3034 If it be banished from the frosty head,
3035 Where shall it find a harbor in the earth?
3036 Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
3037 And shame thine honorable age with blood?
3038 175 Why art thou old and want’st experience?
3039 Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
3040 For shame! In duty bend thy knee to me
3041 That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
3042 My lord, I have considered with myself
3043 180 The title of this most renownèd duke,
3044 And in my conscience do repute his Grace
3045 The rightful heir to England’s royal seat.
3046 Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
SALISBURY 3047 I have.
3048 185 Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
3049 It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
3050 But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
3051 Who can be bound by any solemn vow
3052 To do a murd’rous deed, to rob a man,
3053 190 To force a spotless virgin’s chastity,
3054 To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
3055 To wring the widow from her customed right,
3056 And have no other reason for this wrong
3057 But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
3058 195 A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
KING HENRY, ⌜to an Attendant⌝
3059 Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
YORK, ⌜to King Henry⌝
3060 Call Buckingham and all the friends thou hast,
3061 I am resolved for death ⌜or⌝ dignity.
3062 The first, I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.
3063 200 You were best to go to bed and dream again,
3064 To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
3065 I am resolved to bear a greater storm
3066 Than any thou canst conjure up today;
3067 And that I’ll write upon thy burgonet,
3068 205 Might I but know thee by thy ⌜house’s⌝ badge.
3069 Now, by my father’s badge, old Neville’s crest,
3070 The rampant bear chained to the ragged staff,
3071 This day I’ll wear aloft my burgonet—
3072 As on a mountaintop the cedar shows
3073 210 That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm—
3074 Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
3075 And from thy burgonet I’ll rend thy bear
3076 And tread it under foot with all contempt,
3077 Despite the bearherd that protects the bear.
3078 215 And so to arms, victorious father,
3079 To quell the rebels and their complices.
3080 Fie! Charity, for shame! Speak not in spite,
3081 For you shall sup with Jesu Christ tonight.
3082 Foul stigmatic, that’s more than thou canst tell!
3083 220 If not in heaven, you’ll surely sup in hell.
⌜They exit separately.⌝