Henry VI, Part 3 - Act 1, scene 4
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Act 1, scene 4
At the battle of Wakefield, York is captured by the victorious Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, Lord Clifford, and the Earl of Northumberland. They put a paper crown on his head, and after telling him about Rutland’s murder, they torment him by giving him a handkerchief dipped in Rutland’s blood to dry his tears. York is then stabbed by Clifford and Margaret, who orders that his head be placed over the gates of the city of York.Alarum. Enter Richard, Duke of York, ⌜wearing the
0411 The army of the Queen hath got the field.
0412 My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
0414 Turn back and fly like ships before the wind,
0415 5 Or lambs pursued by hunger-starvèd wolves.
0416 My sons, God knows what hath bechancèd them;
0417 But this I know: they have demeaned themselves
0418 Like men borne to renown by life or death.
0419 Three times did Richard make a lane to me
0420 10 And thrice cried “Courage, father, fight it out!”
0421 And full as oft came Edward to my side,
0422 With purple falchion painted to the hilt
0423 In blood of those that had encountered him;
0424 And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
0425 15 Richard cried “Charge, and give no foot of ground!”
0426 And cried “A crown or else a glorious tomb;
0427 A scepter or an earthly sepulcher!”
0428 With this we charged again; but, out alas,
0429 We ⌜budged⌝ again, as I have seen a swan
0430 20 With bootless labor swim against the tide
0431 And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
A short alarum within.
0432 Ah, hark, the fatal followers do pursue,
0433 And I am faint and cannot fly their fury;
0434 And were I strong, I would not shun their fury.
0435 25 The sands are numbered that makes up my life.
0436 Here must I stay, and here my life must end.
Enter Queen ⌜Margaret,⌝ Clifford, Northumberland,
the young Prince ⌜Edward,⌝ and Soldiers,
⌜all wearing the red rose.⌝
0437 Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland,
0438 I dare your quenchless fury to more rage.
0439 I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
0440 30 Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
0441 Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm
0443 Now Phaëton hath tumbled from his car
0444 And made an evening at the noontide prick.
0445 35 My ashes, as the Phoenix’, may bring forth
0446 A bird that will revenge upon you all;
0447 And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
0448 Scorning whate’er you can afflict me with.
0449 Why come you not? What, multitudes, and fear?
0450 40 So cowards fight when they can fly no further;
0451 So doves do peck the falcon’s piercing talons;
0452 So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
0453 Breathe out invectives ’gainst the officers.
0454 O Clifford, but bethink thee once again
0455 45 And in thy thought o’errun my former time;
0456 And, if thou canst for blushing, view this face
0457 And bite thy tongue that slanders him with cowardice
0458 Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this.
0459 I will not bandy with thee word for word,
0460 50 But buckler with thee blows twice two for one.
0461 Hold, valiant Clifford, for a thousand causes
0462 I would prolong a while the traitor’s life.—
0463 Wrath makes him deaf; speak thou, Northumberland.
0464 Hold, Clifford, do not honor him so much
0465 55 To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart.
0466 What valor were it when a cur doth grin
0467 For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
0468 When he might spurn him with his foot away?
0469 It is war’s prize to take all vantages,
0470 60 And ten to one is no impeach of valor.
⌜They attack York.⌝
0471 Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.
0472 So doth the coney struggle in the net.
0473 So triumph thieves upon their conquered booty;
0474 So true men yield with robbers, so o’ermatched.
⌜York is overcome.⌝
NORTHUMBERLAND, ⌜to Queen Margaret⌝
0475 65 What would your Grace have done unto him now?
0476 Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
0477 Come, make him stand upon this molehill here
0478 That raught at mountains with outstretchèd arms,
0479 Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
⌜They place York on a small prominence.⌝
0480 70 What, was it you that would be England’s king?
0481 Was ’t you that reveled in our parliament
0482 And made a preachment of your high descent?
0483 Where are your mess of sons to back you now,
0484 The wanton Edward and the lusty George?
0485 75 And where’s that valiant crookback prodigy,
0486 Dickie, your boy, that with his grumbling voice
0487 Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
0488 Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
0489 Look, York, I stained this napkin with the blood
0490 80 That valiant Clifford with his rapier’s point
0491 Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
0492 And if thine eyes can water for his death,
0493 I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
⌜She gives him a bloody cloth.⌝
0494 Alas, poor York, but that I hate thee deadly
0495 85 I should lament thy miserable state.
0496 I prithee grieve to make me merry, York.
0497 What, hath thy fiery heart so parched thine entrails
0498 That not a tear can fall for Rutland’s death?
0500 90 And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
0501 Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
0502 Thou would’st be fee’d, I see, to make me sport.—
0503 York cannot speak unless he wear a crown.
0504 A crown for York!⌜She is handed a paper crown.⌝
0505 95 And, lords, bow low to him.
0506 Hold you his hands whilst I do set it on.
⌜She puts the crown on York’s head.⌝
0507 Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king.
0508 Ay, this is he that took King Henry’s chair,
0509 And this is he was his adopted heir.
0510 100 But how is it that great Plantagenet
0511 Is crowned so soon and broke his solemn oath?—
0512 As I bethink me, you should not be king
0513 Till our King Henry had shook hands with Death.
0514 And will you pale your head in Henry’s glory
0515 105 And rob his temples of the diadem
0516 Now, in his life, against your holy oath?
0517 O, ’tis a fault too too unpardonable.
0518 Off with the crown and, with the crown, his head;
0519 And whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.
0520 110 That is my office, for my father’s sake.
0521 Nay, stay, let’s hear the orisons he makes.
0522 She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of
0524 Whose tongue more poisons than the adder’s tooth:
0525 115 How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex
0526 To triumph like an Amazonian trull
0527 Upon their woes whom Fortune captivates.
0528 But that thy face is vizard-like, unchanging,
0529 Made impudent with use of evil deeds,
0530 120 I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush.
0532 Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not
0534 Thy father bears the type of King of Naples,
0535 125 Of both the Sicils, and Jerusalem,
0536 Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
0537 Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
0538 It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen,
0539 Unless the adage must be verified
0540 130 That beggars mounted run their horse to death.
0541 ’Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud,
0542 But God He knows thy share thereof is small.
0543 ’Tis virtue that doth make them most admired;
0544 The contrary doth make thee wondered at.
0545 135 ’Tis government that makes them seem divine;
0546 The want thereof makes thee abominable.
0547 Thou art as opposite to every good
0548 As the Antipodes are unto us
0549 Or as the south to the Septentrion.
0550 140 O, tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide,
0551 How couldst thou drain the lifeblood of the child
0552 To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
0553 And yet be seen to bear a woman’s face?
0554 Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
0555 145 Thou, stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
0556 Bidd’st thou me rage? Why, now thou hast thy wish.
0557 Wouldst have me weep? Why, now thou hast thy will;
0558 For raging wind blows up incessant showers,
0559 And when the rage allays, the rain begins.
0560 150 These tears are my sweet Rutland’s obsequies,
0561 And every drop cries vengeance for his death
0562 ’Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false
0564 Beshrew me, but his passions moves me so
0565 155 That hardly can I check my eyes from tears.
0566 That face of his the hungry cannibals
0567 Would not have touched, would not have stained
0568 with blood;
0569 But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
0570 160 O, ten times more than tigers of Hyrcania.
0571 See, ruthless queen, a hapless father’s tears.
0572 This cloth thou dipped’st in blood of my sweet boy,
0573 And I with tears do wash the blood away.
⌜He hands her the cloth.⌝
0574 Keep thou the napkin and go boast of this;
0575 165 And if thou tell’st the heavy story right,
0576 Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears.
0577 Yea, even my foes will shed fast-falling tears
0578 And say “Alas, it was a piteous deed.”
⌜He hands her the paper crown.⌝
0579 There, take the crown and, with the crown, my
0580 170 curse,
0581 And in thy need such comfort come to thee
0582 As now I reap at thy too cruel hand.—
0583 Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world,
0584 My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads.
0585 175 Had he been slaughterman to all my kin,
0586 I should not for my life but weep with him
0587 To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.
0588 What, weeping ripe, my Lord Northumberland?
0589 Think but upon the wrong he did us all,
0590 180 And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.
CLIFFORD, ⌜stabbing York twice⌝
0591 Here’s for my oath; here’s for my father’s death!
QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜stabbing York⌝
0592 And here’s to right our gentle-hearted king.
0593 Open thy gate of mercy, gracious God.
0595 185 Off with his head, and set it on York gates,
0596 So York may overlook the town of York.
Flourish. ⌜They⌝ exit, ⌜Soldiers carrying York’s body.⌝