Henry VI, Part 3 - Act 1, scene 2
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Act 1, scene 2
York is persuaded by his sons Edward and Richard to break his oath to Henry and fight for the crown. Learning that Margaret’s army is marching toward his castle, York prepares to meet them in the field (for the battle of Wakefield).Enter Richard, Edward, and Montague,
⌜all wearing the white rose.⌝
0282 Brother, though I be youngest, give me leave.
0283 No, I can better play the orator.
0284 But I have reasons strong and forcible.
Enter the Duke of York.
0285 Why, how now, sons and brother, at a strife?
0286 5 What is your quarrel? How began it first?
0287 No quarrel, but a slight contention.
YORK 0288 About what?
0289 About that which concerns your Grace and us:
0290 The crown of England, father, which is yours.
0291 10 Mine, boy? Not till King Henry be dead.
0292 Your right depends not on his life or death.
0293 Now you are heir; therefore enjoy it now.
0295 It will outrun you, father, in the end.
0296 15 I took an oath that he should quietly reign.
0297 But for a kingdom any oath may be broken.
0298 I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.
0299 No, God forbid your Grace should be forsworn.
0300 I shall be, if I claim by open war.
0301 20 I’ll prove the contrary, if you’ll hear me speak.
0302 Thou canst not, son; it is impossible.
0303 An oath is of no moment, being not took
0304 Before a true and lawful magistrate
0305 That hath authority over him that swears.
0306 25 Henry had none, but did usurp the place.
0307 Then, seeing ’twas he that made you to depose,
0308 Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous.
0309 Therefore, to arms! And, father, do but think
0310 How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown,
0311 30 Within whose circuit is Elysium
0312 And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
0313 Why do we linger thus? I cannot rest
0314 Until the white rose that I wear be dyed
0315 Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry’s heart.
0316 35 Richard, enough. I will be king or die.—
0317 Brother, thou shalt to London presently,
0318 And whet on Warwick to this enterprise.—
0319 Thou, Richard, shalt to the Duke of Norfolk
0320 And tell him privily of our intent.—
0321 40 You, Edward, shall unto my Lord Cobham,
0323 In them I trust, for they are soldiers
0324 Witty, courteous, liberal, full of spirit.
0325 While you are thus employed, what resteth more
0326 45 But that I seek occasion how to rise,
0327 And yet the King not privy to my drift,
0328 Nor any of the house of Lancaster.
Enter ⌜a Messenger.⌝
0329 But stay, what news? Why com’st thou in such post?
0330 The Queen with all the northern earls and lords
0331 50 Intend here to besiege you in your castle.
0332 She is hard by with twenty thousand men.
0333 And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.⌜He exits.⌝
0334 Ay, with my sword. What, think’st thou that we fear
0336 55 Edward and Richard, you shall stay with me;
0337 My brother Montague shall post to London.
0338 Let noble Warwick, Cobham, and the rest,
0339 Whom we have left Protectors of the King,
0340 With powerful policy strengthen themselves
0341 60 And trust not simple Henry nor his oaths.
0342 Brother, I go. I’ll win them, fear it not.
0343 And thus most humbly I do take my leave.
Enter ⌜Sir John⌝ Mortimer, and his brother,
⌜Sir Hugh Mortimer.⌝
0344 Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles,
0345 You are come to Sandal in a happy hour.
0346 65 The army of the Queen mean to besiege us.
0347 She shall not need; we’ll meet her in the field.
YORK 0348 What, with five thousand men?
0349 Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need.
0350 A woman’s general; what should we fear?
A march afar off.
0351 70 I hear their drums. Let’s set our men in order,
0352 And issue forth and bid them battle straight.
0353 Five men to twenty: though the odds be great,
0354 I doubt not, uncle, of our victory.
0355 Many a battle have I won in France
0356 75 Whenas the enemy hath been ten to one.
0357 Why should I not now have the like success?
Alarum. ⌜They⌝ exit.