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Henry VI, Part 3 - Act 2, scene 6
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 3 - Act 2, scene 6
Act 2, scene 6
Lord Clifford enters wounded to the death. Warwick, Edward, Richard, and George find Clifford’s body and taunt him. They prepare to cut off his head and place it over York’s city gate. Before they march to London in triumph, Warwick announces his plan to win Lady Bona as Edward’s bride, and Edward makes George the Duke of Clarence and Richard the Duke of Gloucester.A loud alarum. Enter Clifford,
⌜wearing the red rose,⌝ wounded.
1197 Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,
1198 Which whiles it lasted gave King Henry light.
1199 O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow
1200 More than my body’s parting with my soul!
1201 5 My love and fear glued many friends to thee;
1202 And now I fall, thy tough commixtures melts,
1203 Impairing Henry, strength’ning misproud York;
1204 And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?
1205 And who shines now but Henry’s enemies?
1206 10 O Phoebus, hadst thou never given consent
1207 That Phaëton should check thy fiery steeds,
1208 Thy burning car never had scorched the Earth!
1209 And Henry, hadst thou swayed as kings should do,
1210 Or as thy father and his father did,
1211 15 Giving no ground unto the house of York,
1212 They never then had sprung like summer flies;
1213 I and ten thousand in this luckless realm
1214 Had left no mourning widows for our death,
1215 And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace.
1216 20 For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air?
1217 And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?
1218 Bootless are plaints, and cureless are my wounds;
1219 No way to fly, no strength to hold out flight.
1220 The foe is merciless and will not pity,
p. 1051221 25 For at their hands I have deserved no pity.
1222 The air hath got into my deadly wounds,
1223 And much effuse of blood doth make me faint.
1224 Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest.
1225 I stabbed your fathers’ bosoms; split my breast.
Alarum and retreat. Enter Edward, Warwick,
Richard, and Soldiers, Montague, and ⌜George,⌝
⌜all wearing the white rose.⌝
1226 30 Now breathe we, lords. Good fortune bids us pause
1227 And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks.
1228 Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen
1229 That led calm Henry, though he were a king,
1230 As doth a sail filled with a fretting gust
1231 35 Command an argosy to stem the waves.
1232 But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them?
1233 No, ’tis impossible he should escape,
1234 For, though before his face I speak the words,
1235 Your brother Richard marked him for the grave,
1236 40 And wheresoe’er he is, he’s surely dead.
Clifford groans, ⌜and dies.⌝
1237 Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?
1238 A deadly groan, like life and death’s departing.
1239 See who it is; and, now the battle’s ended,
1240 If friend or foe, let him be gently used.
1241 45 Revoke that doom of mercy, for ’tis Clifford,
1242 Who not contented that he lopped the branch
1243 In hewing Rutland when his leaves put forth,
1244 But set his murd’ring knife unto the root
p. 1071245 From whence that tender spray did sweetly spring,
1246 50 I mean our princely father, Duke of York.
1247 From off the gates of York fetch down the head,
1248 Your father’s head, which Clifford placèd there;
1249 Instead whereof let this supply the room.
1250 Measure for measure must be answerèd.
1251 55 Bring forth that fatal screech owl to our house
1252 That nothing sung but death to us and ours;
1253 Now death shall stop his dismal threat’ning sound,
1254 And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.
1255 I think ⌜his⌝ understanding is bereft.—
1256 60 Speak, Clifford, dost thou know who speaks to
1258 Dark cloudy death o’ershades his beams of life,
1259 And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.
1260 O, would he did—and so, perhaps, he doth!
1261 65 ’Tis but his policy to counterfeit,
1262 Because he would avoid such bitter taunts
1263 Which in the time of death he gave our father.
1264 If so thou think’st, vex him with eager words.
1265 Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.
1266 70 Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.
1267 Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.
1268 While we devise fell tortures for thy faults.
1269 Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.
1270 Thou pitied’st Rutland; I will pity thee.
1271 75 Where’s Captain Margaret to fence you now?
1272 They mock thee, Clifford; swear as thou wast wont.
1273 What, not an oath? Nay, then, the world goes hard
1274 When Clifford cannot spare his friends an oath.
1275 I know by that he’s dead; and, by my soul,
1276 80 If this right hand would buy ⌜but⌝ two hours’ life
1277 That I in all despite might rail at him,
1278 This hand should chop it off, and with the issuing
1280 Stifle the villain whose unstaunchèd thirst
1281 85 York and young Rutland could not satisfy.
1282 Ay, but he’s dead. Off with the traitor’s head,
1283 And rear it in the place your father’s stands.
1284 And now to London with triumphant march,
1285 There to be crownèd England’s royal king,
1286 90 From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France
1287 And ask the Lady Bona for thy queen;
1288 So shalt thou sinew both these lands together,
1289 And having France thy friend, thou shalt not dread
1290 The scattered foe that hopes to rise again;
1291 95 For though they cannot greatly sting to hurt,
1292 Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears.
1293 First will I see the coronation,
1294 And then to Brittany I’ll cross the sea
1295 To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.
1296 100 Even as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be;
1297 For in thy shoulder do I build my seat,
1298 And never will I undertake the thing
1299 Wherein thy counsel and consent is wanting.—
p. 1111300 Richard, I will create thee Duke of Gloucester,
1301 105 And George, of Clarence. Warwick as ourself
1302 Shall do and undo as him pleaseth best.
1303 Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester,
1304 For Gloucester’s dukedom is too ominous.
1305 Tut, that’s a foolish observation.
1306 110 Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London,
1307 To see these honors in possession.
They exit, ⌜with Clifford’s body.⌝