Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part II

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act II, Scene 2

London. YORK’S garden.



  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Now, my good Lords of Salisbury and Warwick,
    Our simple supper ended, give me leave
    In this close walk to satisfy myself,
    In craving your opinion of my title,
    Which is infallible, to England's crown. 960
  • Earl of Salisbury. My lord, I long to hear it at full.
  • Earl of Warwick. Sweet York, begin: and if thy claim be good,
    The Nevils are thy subjects to command.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then thus:
    Edward the Third, my lords, had seven sons: 965
    The first, Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Wales;
    The second, William of Hatfield, and the third,
    Lionel Duke of Clarence: next to whom
    Was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster;
    The fifth was Edmund Langley, Duke of York; 970
    The sixth was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester;
    William of Windsor was the seventh and last.
    Edward the Black Prince died before his father
    And left behind him Richard, his only son,
    Who after Edward the Third's death reign'd as king; 975
    Till Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster,
    The eldest son and heir of John of Gaunt,
    Crown'd by the name of Henry the Fourth,
    Seized on the realm, deposed the rightful king,
    Sent his poor queen to France, from whence she came, 980
    And him to Pomfret; where, as all you know,
    Harmless Richard was murder'd traitorously.
  • Earl of Warwick. Father, the duke hath told the truth:
    Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Which now they hold by force and not by right; 985
    For Richard, the first son's heir, being dead,
    The issue of the next son should have reign'd.
  • Earl of Salisbury. But William of Hatfield died without an heir.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose line
    I claimed the crown, had issue, Philippe, a daughter, 990
    Who married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March:
    Edmund had issue, Roger Earl of March;
    Roger had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.
  • Earl of Salisbury. This Edmund, in the reign of Bolingbroke,
    As I have read, laid claim unto the crown; 995
    And, but for Owen Glendower, had been king,
    Who kept him in captivity till he died.
    But to the rest.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). His eldest sister, Anne,
    My mother, being heir unto the crown 1000
    Married Richard Earl of Cambridge; who was son
    To Edmund Langley, Edward the Third's fifth son.
    By her I claim the kingdom: she was heir
    To Roger Earl of March, who was the son
    Of Edmund Mortimer, who married Philippe, 1005
    Sole daughter unto Lionel Duke of Clarence:
    So, if the issue of the elder son
    Succeed before the younger, I am king.
  • Earl of Warwick. What plain proceeding is more plain than this?
    Henry doth claim the crown from John of Gaunt, 1010
    The fourth son; York claims it from the third.
    Till Lionel's issue fails, his should not reign:
    It fails not yet, but flourishes in thee
    And in thy sons, fair slips of such a stock.
    Then, father Salisbury, kneel we together; 1015
    And in this private plot be we the first
    That shall salute our rightful sovereign
    With honour of his birthright to the crown.
  • Both. Long live our sovereign Richard, England's king!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). We thank you, lords. But I am not your king 1020
    Till I be crown'd and that my sword be stain'd
    With heart-blood of the house of Lancaster;
    And that's not suddenly to be perform'd,
    But with advice and silent secrecy.
    Do you as I do in these dangerous days: 1025
    Wink at the Duke of Suffolk's insolence,
    At Beaufort's pride, at Somerset's ambition,
    At Buckingham and all the crew of them,
    Till they have snared the shepherd of the flock,
    That virtuous prince, the good Duke Humphrey: 1030
    'Tis that they seek, and they in seeking that
    Shall find their deaths, if York can prophesy.
  • Earl of Salisbury. My lord, break we off; we know your mind at full.
  • Earl of Warwick. My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick
    Shall one day make the Duke of York a king. 1035
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). And, Nevil, this I do assure myself:
    Richard shall live to make the Earl of Warwick
    The greatest man in England but the king.