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Henry VI, Part 3 - Act 5, scene 4
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 3 - Act 5, scene 4
Act 5, scene 4
Queen Margaret rallies her forces despite Henry’s capture and Warwick’s death. King Edward and his forces enter. The battle of Tewkesbury ensues.Flourish. March. Enter Queen ⌜Margaret,⌝
young ⌜Prince⌝ Edward, Somerset, Oxford,
and Soldiers, ⌜all wearing the red rose.⌝
2643 Great lords, wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss
2644 But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
2645 What though the mast be now blown overboard,
2646 The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
2647 5 And half our sailors swallowed in the flood?
2648 Yet lives our pilot still. Is ’t meet that he
2649 Should leave the helm and, like a fearful lad,
p. 2312650 With tearful eyes add water to the sea
2651 And give more strength to that which hath too much,
2652 10 Whiles in his moan the ship splits on the rock,
2653 Which industry and courage might have saved?
2654 Ah, what a shame, ah, what a fault were this!
2655 Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
2656 And Montague our topmast; what of him?
2657 15 Our slaughtered friends the tackles; what of these?
2658 Why, is not Oxford here another anchor?
2659 And Somerset another goodly mast?
2660 The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
2661 And, though unskillful, why not Ned and I
2662 20 For once allowed the skillful pilot’s charge?
2663 We will not from the helm to sit and weep,
2664 But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,
2665 From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wrack.
2666 As good to chide the waves as speak them fair.
2667 25 And what is Edward but a ruthless sea?
2668 What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit?
2669 And Richard but a ragged fatal rock—
2670 All these the enemies to our poor bark?
2671 Say you can swim: alas, ’tis but awhile;
2672 30 Tread on the sand: why, there you quickly sink;
2673 Bestride the rock: the tide will wash you off
2674 Or else you famish; that’s a threefold death.
2675 This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
2676 If case some one of you would fly from us,
2677 35 That there’s no hoped-for mercy with the brothers
2678 More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks.
2679 Why, courage then! What cannot be avoided
2680 ’Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
2681 Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit
2682 40 Should, if a coward heard her speak these words,
2683 Infuse his breast with magnanimity
2684 And make him, naked, foil a man-at-arms.
p. 2332685 I speak not this as doubting any here,
2686 For did I but suspect a fearful man,
2687 45 He should have leave to go away betimes,
2688 Lest in our need he might infect another
2689 And make him of like spirit to himself.
2690 If any such be here, as God forbid,
2691 Let him depart before we need his help.
2692 50 Women and children of so high a courage,
2693 And warriors faint? Why, ’twere perpetual shame!
2694 O, brave young prince, thy famous grandfather
2695 Doth live again in thee. Long mayst thou live
2696 To bear his image and renew his glories!
2697 55 And he that will not fight for such a hope,
2698 Go home to bed and, like the owl by day,
2699 If he arise, be mocked and wondered at.
2700 Thanks, gentle Somerset.—Sweet Oxford, thanks.
2701 And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.
Enter a Messenger.
2702 60 Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand,
2703 Ready to fight. Therefore be resolute.⌜He exits.⌝
2704 I thought no less. It is his policy
2705 To haste thus fast to find us unprovided.
2706 But he’s deceived. We are in readiness.
2707 65 This cheers my heart to see your forwardness.
2708 Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.
p. 235Flourish, and march. Enter ⌜King⌝ Edward, Richard,
Clarence, and Soldiers, ⌜all wearing the white rose.⌝
KING EDWARD, ⌜to his army⌝
2709 Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood
2710 Which by the heavens’ assistance and your strength
2711 Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
2712 70 I need not add more fuel to your fire,
2713 For, well I wot, you blaze to burn them out.
2714 Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!
QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜to her army⌝
2715 Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say
2716 My tears gainsay, for every word I speak
2717 75 You see I drink the water of my eye.
2718 Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your sovereign,
2719 Is prisoner to the foe, his state usurped,
2720 His realm a slaughterhouse, his subjects slain,
2721 His statutes cancelled and his treasure spent,
2722 80 And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
2723 You fight in justice. Then, in God’s name, lords,
2724 Be valiant, and give signal to the fight!
Alarum, retreat, excursions. They exit.