Page images


Mess. Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand.
Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.

Oxf. I thought no less: it is his policy,
To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
Som. But he's deceived, we are in readiness.

Q. Mar. This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.
8f. Here pitch our battle, Lonce we will not budge.

March.-Enter at a distance, KING EDWARD, CLARENCE,
GLOSTER, and Forces.

K. Edw. Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood,
Which, by the heavens' assistance, and your strength,
Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.

I need not add more fuel to your fire,

For well I wot, ye blaze to burn them ut:

Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords.

Q. Mar. Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what, I should say, My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,

Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.

Therefore, no more but this:-Henry, your sovereign,

Is prisoner to the foe; his state usurp❜d,

His realm a slaughterhouse, his subjects slain,
His statutes cancell'd, and his treasure spent;
And yonder is the wolf, that makes this spoil.
You fight in justice: then, in God's name, lords,
Be valiant, and give signal to the fight.

[Exeunt both Armies.

SCENE V-Another part of the same.

Alarums: Excursions: and afterwards a Retreat. Then Enter

K. Edw. Now, here a period of tumultuous broils.
Away with Oxford to Hammes' castle straight:
For Somerset, off with his guilty head.

Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.
Oxf. For my part, I will not trouble thee with words.
Som. Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.

[Exeunt OXFORD and SOMERSET, guarded. Q. Mar. So part we sadly in this troublous world, To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.

K. Edw. Is proclamation made, that, who finds Edward, Shall have a high reward, and he his life?

Glo. It is: and, lo, where youthful Edward comes.

Enter Soldiers with PRINCE EDWARD.

K. Edw. Bring forth the gallant, let us hear him speak: What! can so young a thorn begin to prick?

* Know.


Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make,
For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects,
And all the trouble thou hast turn'd me to?

Prince. Speak like a subject, proud ambitious York!
Suppose, that I am now my father's mouth;
Resign thy chair, and, where I stand, kneel thou,
Whilst I propose the self-same words to thee,
Which, traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.
Q. Mar. Ah, that thy father had been so resolved!
Glo. That you might still have worn the petticoat,
And ne'er have stol'n the breech from Lancaster.
Prince. Let Esop* fable in a winter's night:
His currish riddles sort not with this place.

Glo. By heaven, brat, I'll plague you for that word.
Q. Mar. Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.
Glo. For God's sake, take away this captive scold.
Prince. Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather.
K. Edw. Peace, wilful boy, or I will charnt your tongue.
Clar. Untutor'd lad, thou art too malapert.

Prince. I know my duty, you are all undutiful:
Lascivious Edward,-and thou perjured George,-
And thou misshapen Dick,-I tell you all,

I am your better, traitors as ye are ;

And thou usurp'st my father's right and mine.

K. Edw. Take that, the likeness of this railer here. [Stabs him. Glo. Sprawl'st thou ? take that, to end thy agony.

[GLOSTER stabs him.

Clar. And there's for twitting me with perjury.

Q. Mar. O, kill me too!
Glo. Marry, and shall.

[CLARENCE stabs him.

[Offers to kill her

K. Edw. Hold, Richard, hold, for we have done too much.
Glo. Why should she live, to fill the world with words?

K. Edw. What! doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.
Glo. Clarence, excuse me to the king, my brother;

I'll hence to London on a serious matter:

Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.

Clar. What? what?

Glo. The Tower, the Tower!

Q. Mar. O, Ned, sweet Ned! speak to thy mother, boy!

Canst thou not speak ?-O traitors, murderers!

They, that stabb'd Cæsar, shed no blood at all,

Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame,

If this foul deed were by, to equal it.

He was a man; this, in respect, a child;
And men ne'er spend their fury on a child.

What's worse than murderer, that I may name it?
No, no; my heart will burst, an if I speak:

And I will speak, that so my heart may burst.

The Prince calls Richard, for his crookedness, sop..
+ Compel you to be as silent as though you were enchanted.
Dispute, contention.



Butchers and villains, bloody cannibals;

How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp'd!
You have no children, butchers! if you had,

The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse :
But, if you ever chance to have a child,

Look in his youth to have him so cut off,

As, deathsmen! you have rid this sweet young prince!
K. Edw. Away with her; go, bear her hence perforce.
Q. Mar. Nay, never bear me hence, despatch me here;
Here sheath thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death:
What! wilt thou not ?-then, Clarence, do it thou.

Clar. By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.
Q. Mar. Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it.
Clar. Didst thou not hear me swear, I would not do it.
Q. Mar. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself:
'Twas sin before, but now 'tis charity.

What! wilt thou not ? where is that devil's butcher,
Hard favour'd Richard? Richard, where art thou?
Thou art not here: Murder is thy alms-deed;
Petitioners for blood thou ne'er put'st back.

K. Edw. Away, I say; I charge ye, bear her hence.
Q. Mar. So come to you and yours, as to this prince!

[Exit, led out forcibly.

K. Edw. Where's Richard gone?
Clar. To London, all in post; and, as I guess,

To make a bloody supper in the Tower.

K. Edw. He's sudden, if a thing comes in his head.
Now march we hence; discharge the common sort
With pay and thanks, and let's away to London,
And see our gentle queen how well she fares

By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.

SCENE VI.-London. A Room in the Tower.


KING HENRY is discovered sitting with a book in his hand, the Lieutenant attending. Enter GLOSTER.

Glo. Good day, my lord! What, at your book so hard? K. Hen. Ay, my good lord: my lord I should say rather; 'Tis sin to flatter, good was little better:

Good Gloster, and good devil, were alike,

And both preposterous; therefore, not good lord.
Glo. Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer.

[Exit Lieutenant.
K. Hen. So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf:
So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece,
And next his throat unto the butcher's knife.
What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?
Glo. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

K. Hen. The bird that hath been limed in a bush,

She alludes to the desertion of Clarence.

With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush:
And I, the hapless male* to one sweet bird,
Have now the fatal object in my eye,

Where my poor young was limed, was caught, and kill'd.
Glo. Why, what a peevish + fool was that of Crete,

That taught his son the office of a fowl?

And yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown'd.
K. Hen. I, Daedalus; my poor boy, Icarus;
Thy father, Minos, that denied our course;
The sun, that sear'd the wings of my sweet boy,
Thy brother Edward; and thyself the sea
Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life.
Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words!
My breast can better brook thy dagger's point,
Than can my ears that tragic history.-
But wherefore dost thou come, is't for my life?
Glo. Think'st thou, I am an executioner?
K. Hen. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art;
If murdering innocents be executing,
Why, then thou art an executioner.

Glo. Thy son I kill'd for his presumption.

K. Hen. Hadst thou been kill'd, when first thou didst presume, Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine.

And thus I prophesy,-that many a thousand,
Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear;

And many an old man's sigh, and many a widow's,
And many an orphan's water-standing eye,-
Men for their sons, wives for their husbands' fate,
And orphans for their parents' timeless death,-
Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
The owl shriek'd at thy birth, an evil sign;
The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time;

Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempests shook down trees;
The raven rook'd her on the chimney's top,
And chattering pies in dismal discords sung.
Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain,
And yet brought forth less than a mother's hope;
To wit, an indigest deformed lump,

Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.

Teeth hadst thou in thy head, when thou wast born,
To signify,-thou cam'st to bite the world:
And, if the rest be true which I have heard,

Thou cam'st.

Glo. I'll hear no more; Die, prophet, in thy speech;

For this, amongst the rest, was I ordain'd.

[Stabs him.

K. Hen. Ay, and for much more slaughter after this.
O God! forgive my sins, and pardon thee!

Glo. What, will the aspiring blood of Lancaster
Sink in the ground? I thought it would have mounted.
See, how my sword weeps for the poor king's death!

[blocks in formation]


* Squatted down.


O, may such purple tears be always shed
From those that wish the downfal of our house!-
If any spark of life be yet remaining,

Down, down to hell; and say-I sent thee thither.

1, that have neither pity, love, nor fear.-
Indeed, 'tis true, that Henry told me of;
For I have often heard my mother say,
I came into the world with my legs forward:
Had I not reason, think ye, to make haste,
And seek their ruin that usurp'd our right?
The midwife wonder'd; and the women cried,
O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!

And so I was; which plainly signified-
That I should snarl, and bite, and play the dog.

[Stabs him again.

Then since the heavens have shaped my body so, wi
Let hell make crook'd my mind to answer it.

I have no brother, I am like no brother:

And this word-love, which greybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another,

And not in me; I am myself alone.-

Clarence, beware; thou keep'st me from the light;
But I will sort a pitchy day for thee:
For I will buz abroad such prophecies,
That Edward shall be fearful of his life;
And then, to purge his fear, I'll be thy death.
King Henry, and the prince, his son, are gone:
Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest;
Counting myself but bad, till I be best.-
I'll throw thy body in another room,
And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.

SCENE VII.-The same. A Room in the Palace.

[ocr errors]


KING EDWARD is discovered sitting on his Throne; QUEEN ELIZABETH with the infant Prince, CLARENCE, GLOSTER, HASTINGS, and others, near him.

K. Edw. Once more we sit in England's royal throne.
Re-purchased with the blood of enemies.

What valiant foe-men, like to autumn's corn,
Have we mow'd down, in tops of all their pride?
Three dukes of Somerset, threefold renown'd
For hardy and undoubted champions:

Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,

And two Northumberlands; two braver men

Ne'er spurr'd their coursers at the trumpet's sound:

With them, the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague,

That in their chains fetter'd the kingly lion,

And made the forest tremble when they roar'd.

Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat,

* Select.

« PreviousContinue »