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History of Henry VI, Part II

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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. 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). 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
  • Henry VI. Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?

[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
  • 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.



  • 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). 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!
  • 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?
  • 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
  • Henry VI. Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
  • 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.
  • Young Clifford. Foul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell. 3205

[Exeunt severally]