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Henry VI, Part 3 - Act 5, scene 6
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 3 - Act 5, scene 6
Act 5, scene 6
Richard kills King Henry in the Tower, and then begins to plot his own way to the crown, now that King Henry and Prince Edward are dead. He decides that his brother Clarence will be the next to go.Enter ⌜King⌝ Henry the Sixth, ⌜wearing the red rose,⌝
and Richard ⌜of Gloucester, wearing the white rose,⌝
with the Lieutenant ⌜above⌝ on the ⌜Tower⌝ walls.
2817 Good day, my lord. What, at your book so hard?
p. 245KING HENRY
2818 Ay, my good lord—“my lord,” I should say rather.
2819 ’Tis sin to flatter; “good” was little better:
2820 “Good Gloucester” and “good devil” were alike,
2821 5 And both preposterous: therefore, not “good lord.”
RICHARD, ⌜to Lieutenant⌝
2822 Sirrah, leave us to ourselves; we must confer.
2823 So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf;
2824 So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece
2825 And next his throat unto the butcher’s knife.
2826 10 What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?
2827 Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
2828 The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
2829 The bird that hath been limèd in a bush,
2830 With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush;
2831 15 And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird,
2832 Have now the fatal object in my eye
2833 Where my poor young was limed, was caught, and
2835 Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete
2836 20 That taught his son the office of a fowl!
2837 And yet, for all his wings, the fool was drowned.
2838 I Daedalus, my poor boy Icarus,
2839 Thy father Minos, that denied our course;
2840 The sun that seared the wings of my sweet boy
2841 25 Thy brother Edward, and thyself the sea
2842 Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life.
2843 Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words!
2844 My breast can better brook thy dagger’s point
p. 2472845 Than can my ears that tragic history.
2846 30 But wherefore dost thou come? Is ’t for my life?
2847 Think’st thou I am an executioner?
2848 A persecutor I am sure thou art.
2849 If murdering innocents be executing,
2850 Why, then, thou art an executioner.
2851 35 Thy son I killed for his presumption.
2852 Hadst thou been killed when first thou didst presume,
2853 Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine.
2854 And thus I prophesy: that many a thousand
2855 Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear,
2856 40 And many an old man’s sigh, and many a widow’s
2857 And many an orphan’s water-standing eye,
2858 Men for their sons, wives for their husbands,
2859 Orphans for their parents’ timeless death,
2860 Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
2861 45 The owl shrieked at thy birth, an evil sign;
2862 The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time;
2863 Dogs howled, and hideous tempest shook down trees;
2864 The raven rooked her on the chimney’s top;
2865 And chatt’ring pies in dismal discords sung;
2866 50 Thy mother felt more than a mother’s pain,
2867 And yet brought forth less than a mother’s hope:
2868 To wit, an indigested and deformèd lump,
2869 Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.
2870 Teeth hadst thou in thy head when thou wast born
2871 55 To signify thou cam’st to bite the world.
2872 And if the rest be true which I have heard,
2873 Thou cam’st—
2874 I’ll hear no more. Die, prophet, in thy speech;
p. 249Stabs him.
2875 For this amongst the rest was I ordained.
2876 60 Ay, and for much more slaughter after this.
2877 O God, forgive my sins, and pardon thee.Dies.
2878 What, will the aspiring blood of Lancaster
2879 Sink in the ground? I thought it would have mounted.
2880 See how my sword weeps for the poor king’s death.
2881 65 O, may such purple tears be always shed
2882 From those that wish the downfall of our house.
2883 If any spark of life be yet remaining,
2884 Down, down to hell, and say I sent thee thither—
Stabs him again.
2885 I that have neither pity, love, nor fear.
2886 70 Indeed, ’tis true that Henry told me of,
2887 For I have often heard my mother say
2888 I came into the world with my legs forward.
2889 Had I not reason, think you, to make haste
2890 And seek their ruin that usurped our right?
2891 75 The midwife wondered, and the women cried
2892 “O Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!”
2893 And so I was, which plainly signified
2894 That I should snarl, and bite, and play the dog.
2895 Then, since the heavens have shaped my body so,
2896 80 Let hell make crook’d my mind to answer it.
2897 I have no brother, I am like no brother;
2898 And this word “love,” which graybeards call divine,
2899 Be resident in men like one another
2900 And not in me. I am myself alone.
2901 85 Clarence, beware; thou keep’st me from the light,
2902 But I will sort a pitchy day for thee;
2903 For I will buzz abroad such prophecies
2904 That Edward shall be fearful of his life;
2905 And then to purge his fear, I’ll be thy death.
2906 90 King Henry and the Prince his son are gone.
p. 2512907 Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest,
2908 Counting myself but bad till I be best.
2909 I’ll throw thy body in another room,
2910 And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.
He exits, ⌜carrying out the body.⌝