Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part II

Act V

Scene 1. Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.

Scene 2. Saint Alban’s.

Scene 3. Fields near St. Alban’s.

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Act V, Scene 1

Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.


[Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum] [p]and colours]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
    And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
    Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,
    To entertain great England's lawful king. 2980
    Ah! sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear?
    Let them obey that know not how to rule;
    This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
    I cannot give due action to my words,
    Except a sword or sceptre balance it: 2985
    A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
    On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
    [Enter BUCKINGHAM]
    Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?
    The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble. 2990
  • Duke of Buckingham. York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
    Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
  • Duke of Buckingham. A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
    To know the reason of these arms in peace; 2995
    Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
    Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
    Should raise so great a power without his leave,
    Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great: 3000
    O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
    I am so angry at these abject terms;
    And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
    On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
    I am far better born than is the king, 3005
    More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts:
    But I must make fair weather yet a while,
    Till Henry be more weak and I more strong,—
    Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
    That I have given no answer all this while; 3010
    My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
    The cause why I have brought this army hither
    Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
    Seditious to his grace and to the state.
  • Duke of Buckingham. That is too much presumption on thy part: 3015
    But if thy arms be to no other end,
    The king hath yielded unto thy demand:
    The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Upon thine honour, is he prisoner?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Upon mine honour, he is prisoner. 3020
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.
    Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;
    Meet me to-morrow in St. George's field,
    You shall have pay and every thing you wish.
    And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry, 3025
    Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
    As pledges of my fealty and love;
    I'll send them all as willing as I live:
    Lands, goods, horse, armour, any thing I have,
    Is his to use, so Somerset may die. 3030
  • Duke of Buckingham. York, I commend this kind submission:
    We twain will go into his highness' tent.

[Enter KING HENRY VI and Attendants]

  • Henry VI. Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,
    That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm? 3035
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). In all submission and humility
    York doth present himself unto your highness.
  • Henry VI. Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). To heave the traitor Somerset from hence,
    And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade, 3040
    Who since I heard to be discomfited.

[Enter IDEN, with CADE'S head]

  • Alexander Iden. If one so rude and of so mean condition
    May pass into the presence of a king,
    Lo, I present your grace a traitor's head, 3045
    The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
  • Henry VI. The head of Cade! Great God, how just art Thou!
    O, let me view his visage, being dead,
    That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
    Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him? 3050
  • Alexander Iden. I was, an't like your majesty.
  • Henry VI. How art thou call'd? and what is thy degree?
  • Alexander Iden. Alexander Iden, that's my name;
    A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.
  • Duke of Buckingham. So please it you, my lord, 'twere not amiss 3055
    He were created knight for his good service.
  • Henry VI. Iden, kneel down.
    [He kneels]
    Rise up a knight.
    We give thee for reward a thousand marks, 3060
    And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
  • Alexander Iden. May Iden live to merit such a bounty.
    And never live but true unto his liege!



  • Henry VI. See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with the queen:
    Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.
  • Queen Margaret. For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
    But boldly stand and front him to his face.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). How now! is Somerset at liberty? 3070
    Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd thoughts,
    And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
    Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
    False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
    Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse? 3075
    King did I call thee? no, thou art not king,
    Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
    Which darest not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor.
    That head of thine doth not become a crown;
    Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff, 3080
    And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
    That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
    Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
    Is able with the change to kill and cure.
    Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up 3085
    And with the same to act controlling laws.
    Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more
    O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
    Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown; 3090
    Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Wouldst have me kneel? first let me ask of these,
    If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
    Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail;
    [Exit Attendant] 3095
    I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
    They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
  • Queen Margaret. Call hither Clifford! bid him come amain,
    To say if that the bastard boys of York
    Shall be the surety for their traitor father. 3100


  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). O blood-besotted Neapolitan,
    Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!
    The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
    Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those 3105
    That for my surety will refuse the boys!
    [Enter EDWARD and RICHARD]
    See where they come: I'll warrant they'll
    make it good.


  • Queen Margaret. And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.
  • Lord Clifford. Health and all happiness to my lord the king!


  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?
    Nay, do not fright us with an angry look; 3115
    We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again;
    For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
  • Lord Clifford. This is my king, York, I do not mistake;
    But thou mistakest me much to think I do:
    To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad? 3120
  • Henry VI. Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
    Makes him oppose himself against his king.
  • Lord Clifford. He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,
    And chop away that factious pate of his.
  • Queen Margaret. He is arrested, but will not obey; 3125
    His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Will you not, sons?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. And if words will not, then our weapons shall.
  • Lord Clifford. Why, what a brood of traitors have we here! 3130
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Look in a glass, and call thy image so:
    I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.
    Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
    That with the very shaking of their chains
    They may astonish these fell-lurking curs: 3135
    Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.


  • Lord Clifford. Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death.
    And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
    If thou darest bring them to the baiting place. 3140
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. Oft have I seen a hot o'erweening cur
    Run back and bite, because he was withheld;
    Who, being suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,
    Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs and cried:
    And such a piece of service will you do, 3145
    If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
  • Lord Clifford. Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
    As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
  • Lord Clifford. Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves. 3150
  • Henry VI. Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?
    Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
    Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!
    What, wilt thou on thy death-bed play the ruffian,
    And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles? 3155
    O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
    If it be banish'd from the frosty head,
    Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?
    Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
    And shame thine honourable age with blood? 3160
    Why art thou old, and want'st experience?
    Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
    For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me
    That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
  • Earl of Salisbury. My lord, I have consider'd with myself 3165
    The title of this most renowned duke;
    And in my conscience do repute his grace
    The rightful heir to England's royal seat.
  • Henry VI. Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
  • Earl of Salisbury. I have. 3170
  • Henry VI. Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
  • Earl of Salisbury. It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
    But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
    Who can be bound by any solemn vow
    To do a murderous deed, to rob a man, 3175
    To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
    To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
    To wring the widow from her custom'd right,
    And have no other reason for this wrong
    But that he was bound by a solemn oath? 3180
  • Queen Margaret. A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
  • Henry VI. Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Call Buckingham, and all the friends thou hast,
    I am resolved for death or dignity.
  • Lord Clifford. The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true. 3185
  • Earl of Warwick. You were best to go to bed and dream again,
    To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
  • Lord Clifford. I am resolved to bear a greater storm
    Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
    And that I'll write upon thy burgonet, 3190
    Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
  • Earl of Warwick. Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,
    The rampant bear chain'd to the ragged staff,
    This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,
    As on a mountain top the cedar shows 3195
    That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,
    Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
  • Lord Clifford. And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear
    And tread it under foot with all contempt,
    Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear. 3200
  • Young Clifford. And so to arms, victorious father,
    To quell the rebels and their complices.
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. Fie! charity, for shame! speak not in spite,
    For you shall sup with Jesu Christ to-night.
  • Young Clifford. Foul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell. 3205
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. If not in heaven, you'll surely sup in hell.

[Exeunt severally]


Act V, Scene 2

Saint Alban’s.


[Alarums to the battle. Enter WARWICK]

  • Earl of Warwick. Clifford of Cumberland, 'tis Warwick calls:
    And if thou dost not hide thee from the bear, 3210
    Now, when the angry trumpet sounds alarum
    And dead men's cries do fill the empty air,
    Clifford, I say, come forth and fight with me:
    Proud northern lord, Clifford of Cumberland,
    Warwick is hoarse with calling thee to arms. 3215
    [Enter YORK]
    How now, my noble lord? what, all afoot?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). The deadly-handed Clifford slew my steed,
    But match to match I have encounter'd him
    And made a prey for carrion kites and crows 3220
    Even of the bonny beast he loved so well.


  • Earl of Warwick. Of one or both of us the time is come.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Hold, Warwick, seek thee out some other chase,
    For I myself must hunt this deer to death. 3225
  • Earl of Warwick. Then, nobly, York; 'tis for a crown thou fight'st.
    As I intend, Clifford, to thrive to-day,
    It grieves my soul to leave thee unassail'd.


  • Lord Clifford. What seest thou in me, York? why dost thou pause? 3230
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). With thy brave bearing should I be in love,
    But that thou art so fast mine enemy.
  • Lord Clifford. Nor should thy prowess want praise and esteem,
    But that 'tis shown ignobly and in treason.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). So let it help me now against thy sword 3235
    As I in justice and true right express it.
  • Lord Clifford. My soul and body on the action both!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). A dreadful lay! Address thee instantly.

[They fight, and CLIFFORD falls]

  • Lord Clifford. La fin couronne les oeuvres. 3240


  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Thus war hath given thee peace, for thou art still.
    Peace with his soul, heaven, if it be thy will!



  • Young Clifford. Shame and confusion! all is on the rout;
    Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds
    Where it should guard. O war, thou son of hell,
    Whom angry heavens do make their minister
    Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part 3250
    Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly.
    He that is truly dedicate to war
    Hath no self-love, nor he that loves himself
    Hath not essentially but by circumstance
    The name of valour. 3255
    [Seeing his dead father]
    O, let the vile world end,
    And the premised flames of the last day
    Knit earth and heaven together!
    Now let the general trumpet blow his blast, 3260
    Particularities and petty sounds
    To cease! Wast thou ordain'd, dear father,
    To lose thy youth in peace, and to achieve
    The silver livery of advised age,
    And, in thy reverence and thy chair-days, thus 3265
    To die in ruffian battle? Even at this sight
    My heart is turn'd to stone: and while 'tis mine,
    It shall be stony. York not our old men spares;
    No more will I their babes: tears virginal
    Shall be to me even as the dew to fire, 3270
    And beauty that the tyrant oft reclaims
    Shall to my flaming wrath be oil and flax.
    Henceforth I will not have to do with pity:
    Meet I an infant of the house of York,
    Into as many gobbets will I cut it 3275
    As wild Medea young Absyrtus did:
    In cruelty will I seek out my fame.
    Come, thou new ruin of old Clifford's house:
    As did AEneas old Anchises bear,
    So bear I thee upon my manly shoulders; 3280
    But then AEneas bare a living load,
    Nothing so heavy as these woes of mine.
    [Exit, bearing off his father]
    [Enter RICHARD and SOMERSET to fight. SOMERSET]
    is killed] 3285
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. So, lie thou there;
    For underneath an alehouse' paltry sign,
    The Castle in Saint Alban's, Somerset
    Hath made the wizard famous in his death.
    Sword, hold thy temper; heart, be wrathful still: 3290
    Priests pray for enemies, but princes kill.
    [Fight: excursions. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN]
    MARGARET, and others]
  • Queen Margaret. Away, my lord! you are slow; for shame, away! 3295
  • Henry VI. Can we outrun the heavens? good Margaret, stay.
  • Queen Margaret. What are you made of? you'll nor fight nor fly:
    Now is it manhood, wisdom and defence,
    To give the enemy way, and to secure us
    By what we can, which can no more but fly. 3300
    [Alarum afar off]
    If you be ta'en, we then should see the bottom
    Of all our fortunes: but if we haply scape,
    As well we may, if not through your neglect,
    We shall to London get, where you are loved 3305
    And where this breach now in our fortunes made
    May readily be stopp'd.


  • Young Clifford. But that my heart's on future mischief set,
    I would speak blasphemy ere bid you fly: 3310
    But fly you must; uncurable discomfit
    Reigns in the hearts of all our present parts.
    Away, for your relief! and we will live
    To see their day and them our fortune give:
    Away, my lord, away! 3315



Act V, Scene 3

Fields near St. Alban’s.


[Alarum. Retreat. Enter YORK, RICHARD, WARWICK,] [p]and Soldiers, with drum and colours]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Of Salisbury, who can report of him,
    That winter lion, who in rage forgets 3320
    Aged contusions and all brush of time,
    And, like a gallant in the brow of youth,
    Repairs him with occasion? This happy day
    Is not itself, nor have we won one foot,
    If Salisbury be lost. 3325
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. My noble father,
    Three times to-day I holp him to his horse,
    Three times bestrid him; thrice I led him off,
    Persuaded him from any further act:
    But still, where danger was, still there I met him; 3330
    And like rich hangings in a homely house,
    So was his will in his old feeble body.
    But, noble as he is, look where he comes.


  • Earl of Salisbury. Now, by my sword, well hast thou fought to-day; 3335
    By the mass, so did we all. I thank you, Richard:
    God knows how long it is I have to live;
    And it hath pleased him that three times to-day
    You have defended me from imminent death.
    Well, lords, we have not got that which we have: 3340
    'Tis not enough our foes are this time fled,
    Being opposites of such repairing nature.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I know our safety is to follow them;
    For, as I hear, the king is fled to London,
    To call a present court of parliament. 3345
    Let us pursue him ere the writs go forth.
    What says Lord Warwick? shall we after them?
  • Earl of Warwick. After them! nay, before them, if we can.
    Now, by my faith, lords, 'twas a glorious day:
    Saint Alban's battle won by famous York 3350
    Shall be eternized in all age to come.
    Sound drums and trumpets, and to London all:
    And more such days as these to us befall!