Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act IV, Scene 1

London. The palace.



  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now tell me, brother Clarence, what think you
    Of this new marriage with the Lady Grey? 1975
    Hath not our brother made a worthy choice?
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Alas, you know, 'tis far from hence to France;
    How could he stay till Warwick made return?
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. My lords, forbear this talk; here comes the king.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And his well-chosen bride. 1980
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). I mind to tell him plainly what I think.
    [Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, attended; QUEEN]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, brother of Clarence, how like you our choice,
    That you stand pensive, as half malcontent? 1985
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). As well as Lewis of France, or the Earl of Warwick,
    Which are so weak of courage and in judgment
    That they'll take no offence at our abuse.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Suppose they take offence without a cause,
    They are but Lewis and Warwick: I am Edward, 1990
    Your king and Warwick's, and must have my will.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And shall have your will, because our king:
    Yet hasty marriage seldom proveth well.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Yea, brother Richard, are you offended too?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Not I: 1995
    No, God forbid that I should wish them sever'd
    Whom God hath join'd together; ay, and 'twere pity
    To sunder them that yoke so well together.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Setting your scorns and your mislike aside,
    Tell me some reason why the Lady Grey 2000
    Should not become my wife and England's queen.
    And you too, Somerset and Montague,
    Speak freely what you think.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Then this is mine opinion: that King Lewis
    Becomes your enemy, for mocking him 2005
    About the marriage of the Lady Bona.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And Warwick, doing what you gave in charge,
    Is now dishonoured by this new marriage.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What if both Lewis and Warwick be appeased
    By such invention as I can devise? 2010
  • Marquess of Montague. Yet, to have join'd with France in such alliance
    Would more have strengthen'd this our commonwealth
    'Gainst foreign storms than any home-bred marriage.
  • Lord Hastings. Why, knows not Montague that of itself
    England is safe, if true within itself? 2015
  • Marquess of Montague. But the safer when 'tis back'd with France.
  • Lord Hastings. 'Tis better using France than trusting France:
    Let us be back'd with God and with the seas
    Which He hath given for fence impregnable,
    And with their helps only defend ourselves; 2020
    In them and in ourselves our safety lies.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). For this one speech Lord Hastings well deserves
    To have the heir of the Lord Hungerford.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ay, what of that? it was my will and grant;
    And for this once my will shall stand for law. 2025
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And yet methinks your grace hath not done well,
    To give the heir and daughter of Lord Scales
    Unto the brother of your loving bride;
    She better would have fitted me or Clarence:
    But in your bride you bury brotherhood. 2030
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Or else you would not have bestow'd the heir
    Of the Lord Bonville on your new wife's son,
    And leave your brothers to go speed elsewhere.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Alas, poor Clarence! is it for a wife
    That thou art malcontent? I will provide thee. 2035
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). In choosing for yourself, you show'd your judgment,
    Which being shallow, you give me leave
    To play the broker in mine own behalf;
    And to that end I shortly mind to leave you.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Leave me, or tarry, Edward will be king, 2040
    And not be tied unto his brother's will.
  • Queen Elizabeth. My lords, before it pleased his majesty
    To raise my state to title of a queen,
    Do me but right, and you must all confess
    That I was not ignoble of descent; 2045
    And meaner than myself have had like fortune.
    But as this title honours me and mine,
    So your dislike, to whom I would be pleasing,
    Doth cloud my joys with danger and with sorrow.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). My love, forbear to fawn upon their frowns: 2050
    What danger or what sorrow can befall thee,
    So long as Edward is thy constant friend,
    And their true sovereign, whom they must obey?
    Nay, whom they shall obey, and love thee too,
    Unless they seek for hatred at my hands; 2055
    Which if they do, yet will I keep thee safe,
    And they shall feel the vengeance of my wrath.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] I hear, yet say not much, but think the more.

[Enter a Post]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, messenger, what letters or what news 2060
    From France?
  • Post. My sovereign liege, no letters; and few words,
    But such as I, without your special pardon,
    Dare not relate.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Go to, we pardon thee: therefore, in brief, 2065
    Tell me their words as near as thou canst guess them.
    What answer makes King Lewis unto our letters?
  • Post. At my depart, these were his very words:
    'Go tell false Edward, thy supposed king,
    That Lewis of France is sending over masquers 2070
    To revel it with him and his new bride.'
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Is Lewis so brave? belike he thinks me Henry.
    But what said Lady Bona to my marriage?
  • Post. These were her words, utter'd with mad disdain:
    'Tell him, in hope he'll prove a widower shortly, 2075
    I'll wear the willow garland for his sake.'
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). I blame not her, she could say little less;
    She had the wrong. But what said Henry's queen?
    For I have heard that she was there in place.
  • Post. 'Tell him,' quoth she, 'my mourning weeds are done, 2080
    And I am ready to put armour on.'
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Belike she minds to play the Amazon.
    But what said Warwick to these injuries?
  • Post. He, more incensed against your majesty
    Than all the rest, discharged me with these words: 2085
    'Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong,
    And therefore I'll uncrown him ere't be long.'
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Ha! durst the traitor breathe out so proud words?
    Well I will arm me, being thus forewarn'd:
    They shall have wars and pay for their presumption. 2090
    But say, is Warwick friends with Margaret?
  • Post. Ay, gracious sovereign; they are so link'd in
    That young Prince Edward marries Warwick's daughter.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Belike the elder; Clarence will have the younger. 2095
    Now, brother king, farewell, and sit you fast,
    For I will hence to Warwick's other daughter;
    That, though I want a kingdom, yet in marriage
    I may not prove inferior to yourself.
    You that love me and Warwick, follow me. 2100

[Exit CLARENCE, and SOMERSET follows]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Not I:
    My thoughts aim at a further matter; I
    Stay not for the love of Edward, but the crown.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Clarence and Somerset both gone to Warwick! 2105
    Yet am I arm'd against the worst can happen;
    And haste is needful in this desperate case.
    Pembroke and Stafford, you in our behalf
    Go levy men, and make prepare for war;
    They are already, or quickly will be landed: 2110
    Myself in person will straight follow you.
    [Exeunt PEMBROKE and STAFFORD]
    But, ere I go, Hastings and Montague,
    Resolve my doubt. You twain, of all the rest,
    Are near to Warwick by blood and by alliance: 2115
    Tell me if you love Warwick more than me?
    If it be so, then both depart to him;
    I rather wish you foes than hollow friends:
    But if you mind to hold your true obedience,
    Give me assurance with some friendly vow, 2120
    That I may never have you in suspect.
  • Marquess of Montague. So God help Montague as he proves true!
  • Lord Hastings. And Hastings as he favours Edward's cause!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, brother Richard, will you stand by us?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, in despite of all that shall withstand you. 2125
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, so! then am I sure of victory.
    Now therefore let us hence; and lose no hour,
    Till we meet Warwick with his foreign power.