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History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act II, Scene 6

Another part of the field.


[A loud alarum. Enter CLIFFORD, wounded]

  • Lord Clifford. Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,
    Which, whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light.
    O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow
    More than my body's parting with my soul!
    My love and fear glued many friends to thee; 1255
    And, now I fall, thy tough commixture melts.
    Impairing Henry, strengthening misproud York,
    The common people swarm like summer flies;
    And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?
    And who shines now but Henry's enemies? 1260
    O Phoebus, hadst thou never given consent
    That Phaethon should cheque thy fiery steeds,
    Thy burning car never had scorch'd the earth!
    And, Henry, hadst thou sway'd as kings should do,
    Or as thy father and his father did, 1265
    Giving no ground unto the house of York,
    They never then had sprung like summer flies;
    I and ten thousand in this luckless realm
    Had left no mourning widows for our death;
    And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace. 1270
    For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air?
    And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?
    Bootless are plaints, and cureless are my wounds;
    No way to fly, nor strength to hold out flight:
    The foe is merciless, and will not pity; 1275
    For at their hands I have deserved no pity.
    The air hath got into my deadly wounds,
    And much effuse of blood doth make me faint.
    Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest;
    I stabb'd your fathers' bosoms, split my breast. 1280
    [He faints]
    [Alarum and retreat. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD,]
    MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause,
    And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks. 1285
    Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen,
    That led calm Henry, though he were a king,
    As doth a sail, fill'd with a fretting gust,
    Command an argosy to stem the waves.
    But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them? 1290
  • Earl of Warwick. No, 'tis impossible he should escape,
    For, though before his face I speak the words
    Your brother Richard mark'd him for the grave:
    And wheresoe'er he is, he's surely dead.

[CLIFFORD groans, and dies]EDWARD. Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A deadly groan, like life and death's departing.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). See who it is: and, now the battle's ended,
    If friend or foe, let him be gently used.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Revoke that doom of mercy, for 'tis Clifford;
    Who not contented that he lopp'd the branch 1300
    In hewing Rutland when his leaves put forth,
    But set his murdering knife unto the root
    From whence that tender spray did sweetly spring,
    I mean our princely father, Duke of York.
  • Earl of Warwick. From off the gates of York fetch down the head, 1305
    Your father's head, which Clifford placed there;
    Instead whereof let this supply the room:
    Measure for measure must be answered.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Bring forth that fatal screech-owl to our house,
    That nothing sung but death to us and ours: 1310
    Now death shall stop his dismal threatening sound,
    And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.
  • Earl of Warwick. I think his understanding is bereft.
    Speak, Clifford, dost thou know who speaks to thee?
    Dark cloudy death o'ershades his beams of life, 1315
    And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, would he did! and so perhaps he doth:
    'Tis but his policy to counterfeit,
    Because he would avoid such bitter taunts
    Which in the time of death he gave our father. 1320
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). If so thou think'st, vex him with eager words.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.
  • Earl of Warwick. Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). While we devise fell tortures for thy faults. 1325
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Thou pitied'st Rutland; I will pity thee.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Where's Captain Margaret, to fence you now?
  • Earl of Warwick. They mock thee, Clifford: swear as thou wast wont.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, not an oath? nay, then the world goes hard 1330
    When Clifford cannot spare his friends an oath.
    I know by that he's dead; and, by my soul,
    If this right hand would buy two hour's life,
    That I in all despite might rail at him,
    This hand should chop it off, and with the 1335
    issuing blood
    Stifle the villain whose unstanched thirst
    York and young Rutland could not satisfy.
  • Earl of Warwick. Ay, but he's dead: off with the traitor's head,
    And rear it in the place your father's stands. 1340
    And now to London with triumphant march,
    There to be crowned England's royal king:
    From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France,
    And ask the Lady Bona for thy queen:
    So shalt thou sinew both these lands together; 1345
    And, having France thy friend, thou shalt not dread
    The scatter'd foe that hopes to rise again;
    For though they cannot greatly sting to hurt,
    Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears.
    First will I see the coronation; 1350
    And then to Brittany I'll cross the sea,
    To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Even as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be;
    For in thy shoulder do I build my seat,
    And never will I undertake the thing 1355
    Wherein thy counsel and consent is wanting.
    Richard, I will create thee Duke of Gloucester,
    And George, of Clarence: Warwick, as ourself,
    Shall do and undo as him pleaseth best.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester; 1360
    For Gloucester's dukedom is too ominous.
  • Earl of Warwick. Tut, that's a foolish observation:
    Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London,
    To see these honours in possession.