Henry VI, Part 3 - Act 1, scene 1
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Act 1, scene 1
Richard, Duke of York, aided by the Earl of Warwick, occupies King Henry VI’s throne. Faced with Warwick’s soldiers, Henry offers to make York his heir to the throne if he himself can remain king. York accepts the offer. Queen Margaret, enraged that Henry’s son Edward is thus being disinherited, leaves to gather an army of her own.Alarum. Enter ⌜Richard⌝ Plantagenet, ⌜Duke of York⌝;
Edward; Richard; Norfolk; Montague; Warwick; and
Soldiers, ⌜all wearing the white rose.⌝
0001 I wonder how the King escaped our hands.
0002 While we pursued the horsemen of the north,
0003 He slyly stole away and left his men;
0004 Whereat the great lord of Northumberland,
0005 5 Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,
0006 Cheered up the drooping army; and himself,
0007 Lord Clifford, and Lord Stafford, all abreast,
0008 Charged our main battle’s front and, breaking in,
0009 Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.
0010 10 Lord Stafford’s father, Duke of Buckingham,
0011 Is either slain or wounded dangerous.
0012 I cleft his beaver with a downright blow.
0013 That this is true, father, behold his blood.
⌜He shows his bloody sword.⌝
MONTAGUE, ⌜to York, showing his sword⌝
0014 And, brother, here’s the Earl of Wiltshire’s blood,
0015 15 Whom I encountered as the battles joined.
RICHARD, ⌜holding up a severed head⌝
0016 Speak thou for me, and tell them what I did.
0017 Richard hath best deserved of all my sons.
0018 But is your Grace dead, my lord of Somerset?
0019 Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!
0020 20 Thus do I hope to shake King Henry’s head.
0021 And so do I, victorious prince of York.
0022 Before I see thee seated in that throne
0023 Which now the house of Lancaster usurps,
0024 I vow by heaven these eyes shall never close.
0025 25 This is the palace of the fearful king,
0026 And this the regal seat. Possess it, York,
0027 For this is thine and not King Henry’s heirs’.
0028 Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will,
0029 For hither we have broken in by force.
0030 30 We’ll all assist you. He that flies shall die.
0031 Thanks, gentle Norfolk. Stay by me, my lords.—
0032 And soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night.
They go up ⌜onto a dais or platform.⌝
0033 And when the King comes, offer him no violence
0034 Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.
⌜Soldiers exit or retire out of sight.⌝
0035 35 The Queen this day here holds her parliament,
0036 But little thinks we shall be of her council.
0037 By words or blows, here let us win our right.
0038 Armed as we are, let’s stay within this house.
0039 “The Bloody Parliament” shall this be called
0041 And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice
0042 Hath made us bywords to our enemies.
0043 Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute.
0044 I mean to take possession of my right.
0045 45 Neither the King nor he that loves him best,
0046 The proudest he that holds up Lancaster,
0047 Dares stir a wing if Warwick shake his bells.
0048 I’ll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares.
0049 Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.
⌜York sits in the chair of state.⌝
Flourish. Enter King Henry, Clifford, Northumberland,
Westmorland, Exeter, and the rest, ⌜all wearing
the red rose.⌝
0050 50 My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits,
0051 Even in the chair of state! Belike he means,
0052 Backed by the power of Warwick, that false peer,
0053 To aspire unto the crown and reign as king.
0054 Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father,
0055 55 And thine, Lord Clifford, and you both have vowed
0057 On him, his sons, his favorites, and his friends.
0058 If I be not, heavens be revenged on me!
0059 The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in steel.
0060 60 What, shall we suffer this? Let’s pluck him down.
0061 My heart for anger burns. I cannot brook it.
0062 Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmorland.
0063 Patience is for poltroons such as he.
0064 He durst not sit there had your father lived.
0065 65 My gracious lord, here in the Parliament
0066 Let us assail the family of York.
0067 Well hast thou spoken, cousin. Be it so.
0068 Ah, know you not the city favors them,
0069 And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?
0070 70 But when the Duke is slain, they’ll quickly fly.
0071 Far be the thought of this from Henry’s heart,
0072 To make a shambles of the Parliament House!
0073 Cousin of Exeter, frowns, words, and threats
0074 Shall be the war that Henry means to use.—
0075 75 Thou factious Duke of York, descend my throne
0076 And kneel for grace and mercy at my feet.
0077 I am thy sovereign.
YORK 0078 I am thine.
0079 For shame, come down. He made thee Duke of
0080 80 York.
0081 It was my inheritance, as the earldom was.
0082 Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
0083 Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
0084 In following this usurping Henry.
0085 85 Whom should he follow but his natural king?
0086 True, Clifford, that’s Richard, Duke of York.
0087 And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne?
0088 It must and shall be so. Content thyself.
WARWICK, ⌜to King Henry⌝
0089 Be Duke of Lancaster. Let him be king.
0090 90 He is both king and Duke of Lancaster,
0091 And that the lord of Westmorland shall maintain.
0092 And Warwick shall disprove it. You forget
0093 That we are those which chased you from the field
0094 And slew your fathers and, with colors spread,
0095 95 Marched through the city to the palace gates.
0096 Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief;
0097 And by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
0098 Plantagenet, of thee and these thy sons,
0099 Thy kinsmen, and thy friends, I’ll have more lives
0100 100 Than drops of blood were in my father’s veins.
0101 Urge it no more, lest that, instead of words,
0102 I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
0103 As shall revenge his death before I stir.
0104 Poor Clifford, how I scorn his worthless threats!
0105 105 Will you we show our title to the crown?
0106 If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.
0107 What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown?
0108 ⌜Thy⌝ father was as thou art, Duke of York;
0109 Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March.
0110 110 I am the son of Henry the Fifth,
0112 And seized upon their towns and provinces.
0113 Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.
0114 The Lord Protector lost it and not I.
0115 115 When I was crowned, I was but nine months old.
0116 You are old enough now, and yet, methinks, you
0118 Father, tear the crown from the usurper’s head.
0119 Sweet father, do so. Set it on your head.
MONTAGUE, ⌜to York⌝
0120 120 Good brother, as thou lov’st and honorest arms,
0121 Let’s fight it out and not stand caviling thus.
0122 Sound drums and trumpets, and the King will fly.
YORK 0123 Sons, peace!
0124 Peace thou, and give King Henry leave to speak!
0125 125 Plantagenet shall speak first. Hear him, lords,
0126 And be you silent and attentive too,
0127 For he that interrupts him shall not live.
0128 Think’st thou that I will leave my kingly throne,
0129 Wherein my grandsire and my father sat?
0130 130 No. First shall war unpeople this my realm;
0131 Ay, and their colors, often borne in France,
0132 And now in England to our heart’s great sorrow,
0133 Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords?
0134 My title’s good, and better far than his.
0135 135 Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.
0136 Henry the Fourth by conquest got the crown.
0137 ’Twas by rebellion against his king.
KING HENRY, ⌜aside⌝
0138 I know not what to say; my title’s weak.—
0139 Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?
YORK 0140 140What then?
0141 An if he may, then am I lawful king;
0142 For Richard, in the view of many lords,
0143 Resigned the crown to Henry the Fourth,
0144 Whose heir my father was, and I am his.
0145 145 He rose against him, being his sovereign,
0146 And made him to resign his crown perforce.
0147 Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrained,
0148 Think you ’twere prejudicial to his crown?
0149 No, for he could not so resign his crown
0150 150 But that the next heir should succeed and reign.
0151 Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter?
0152 His is the right, and therefore pardon me.
0153 Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?
0154 My conscience tells me he is lawful king.
KING HENRY, ⌜aside⌝
0155 155 All will revolt from me and turn to him.
NORTHUMBERLAND, ⌜to York⌝
0156 Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay’st,
0157 Think not that Henry shall be so deposed.
0158 Deposed he shall be, in despite of all.
0159 Thou art deceived. ’Tis not thy southern power
0160 160 Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
0161 Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,
0162 Can set the Duke up in despite of me.
0163 King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
0164 Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defense.
0165 165 May that ground gape and swallow me alive
0166 Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father.
0167 O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart!
0168 Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.—
0169 What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?
WARWICK, ⌜to King Henry⌝
0170 170 Do right unto this princely Duke of York,
0171 Or I will fill the house with armèd men,
0172 And over the chair of state, where now he sits,
0173 Write up his title with usurping blood.
He stamps with his foot,
and the Soldiers show themselves.
0174 My lord of Warwick, hear but one word:
0175 175 Let me for this my lifetime reign as king.
0176 Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs,
0177 And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou liv’st.
0178 I am content. Richard Plantagenet,
0179 Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.
0180 180 What wrong is this unto the Prince your son!
0181 What good is this to England and himself!
0182 Base, fearful, and despairing Henry!
0183 How hast thou injured both thyself and us!
0184 I cannot stay to hear these articles.
NORTHUMBERLAND 0185 185Nor I.
0186 Come, cousin, let us tell the Queen these news.
0187 Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
0188 In whose cold blood no spark of honor bides.
0189 Be thou a prey unto the house of York,
0190 190 And die in bands for this unmanly deed.
0191 In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome,
0192 Or live in peace abandoned and despised!
⌜Westmorland, Northumberland, Clifford,
and their Soldiers exit.⌝
0193 Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not.
0194 They seek revenge and therefore will not yield.
0195 195 Ah, Exeter!
WARWICK 0196 Why should you sigh, my lord?
0197 Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son,
0198 Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.
0199 But be it as it may. (⌜To York.⌝) I here entail
0200 200 The crown to thee and to thine heirs forever,
0201 Conditionally, that here thou take an oath
0202 To cease this civil war and, whilst I live,
0204 And neither by treason nor hostility
0205 205 To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
0206 This oath I willingly take and will perform.
0207 Long live King Henry! Plantagenet, embrace him.
⌜York stands, and King Henry ascends the dais.⌝
KING HENRY, ⌜to York⌝
0208 And long live thou and these thy forward sons!
0209 Now York and Lancaster are reconciled.
0210 210 Accursed be he that seeks to make them foes.
Sennet. Here they come down.
YORK, ⌜to King Henry⌝
0211 Farewell, my gracious lord. I’ll to my castle.
0212 And I’ll keep London with my soldiers.
0213 And I to Norfolk with my followers.
0214 And I unto the sea, from whence I came.
⌜York, Edward, Richard, Warwick, Norfolk,
Montague, and their Soldiers exit.⌝
0215 215 And I with grief and sorrow to the court.
Enter Queen ⌜Margaret, with Prince Edward.⌝
0216 Here comes the Queen, whose looks bewray her
0218 I’ll steal away.
KING HENRY 0219 Exeter, so will I.
⌜They begin to exit.⌝
0220 220 Nay, go not from me. I will follow thee.
0221 Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay.
0222 Who can be patient in such extremes?
0223 Ah, wretched man, would I had died a maid
0224 And never seen thee, never borne thee son,
0225 225 Seeing thou hast proved so unnatural a father.
0226 Hath he deserved to lose his birthright thus?
0227 Hadst thou but loved him half so well as I,
0228 Or felt that pain which I did for him once,
0229 Or nourished him as I did with my blood,
0230 230 Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood
0232 Rather than have made that savage duke thine heir
0233 And disinherited thine only son.
0234 Father, you cannot disinherit me.
0235 235 If you be king, why should not I succeed?
0236 Pardon me, Margaret.—Pardon me, sweet son.
0237 The Earl of Warwick and the Duke enforced me.
0238 Enforced thee? Art thou king and wilt be forced?
0239 I shame to hear thee speak. Ah, timorous wretch,
0240 240 Thou hast undone thyself, thy son, and me,
0241 And giv’n unto the house of York such head
0242 As thou shalt reign but by their sufferance!
0243 To entail him and his heirs unto the crown,
0244 What is it but to make thy sepulcher
0245 245 And creep into it far before thy time?
0246 Warwick is Chancellor and the lord of Callice;
0247 Stern Falconbridge commands the Narrow Seas;
0248 The Duke is made Protector of the realm;
0249 And yet shalt thou be safe? Such safety finds
0251 Had I been there, which am a silly woman,
0252 The soldiers should have tossed me on their pikes
0253 Before I would have granted to that act.
0254 But thou preferr’st thy life before thine honor.
0255 255 And seeing thou dost, I here divorce myself
0256 Both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed,
0257 Until that act of Parliament be repealed
0258 Whereby my son is disinherited.
0259 The northern lords that have forsworn thy colors
0260 260 Will follow mine if once they see them spread;
0261 And spread they shall be, to thy foul disgrace
0262 And utter ruin of the house of York.
0263 Thus do I leave thee.—Come, son, let’s away.
0264 Our army is ready. Come, we’ll after them.
0265 265 Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me speak.
0266 Thou hast spoke too much already. Get thee gone.
0267 Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay ⌜with⌝ me?
0268 Ay, to be murdered by his enemies!
0269 When I return with victory ⌜from⌝ the field,
0270 270 I’ll see your Grace. Till then, I’ll follow her.
0271 Come, son, away. We may not linger thus.
⌜Queen Margaret and Prince Edward exit.⌝
0272 Poor queen! How love to me and to her son
0273 Hath made her break out into terms of rage!
0274 Revenged may she be on that hateful duke,
0275 275 Whose haughty spirit, wingèd with desire,
0276 Will cost my crown, and like an empty eagle
0277 Tire on the flesh of me and of my son.
0279 I’ll write unto them and entreat them fair.
0280 280 Come, cousin, you shall be the messenger.
0281 And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.
Flourish. ⌜They⌝ exit.