Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act IV, Scene 3

Edward’s camp, near Warwick.


[Enter three Watchmen, to guard KING EDWARD IV's tent]

  • First Watchman. Come on, my masters, each man take his stand:
    The king by this is set him down to sleep. 2165
  • Second Watchman. What, will he not to bed?
  • First Watchman. Why, no; for he hath made a solemn vow
    Never to lie and take his natural rest
    Till Warwick or himself be quite suppress'd.
  • Second Watchman. To-morrow then belike shall be the day, 2170
    If Warwick be so near as men report.
  • Third Watchman. But say, I pray, what nobleman is that
    That with the king here resteth in his tent?
  • First Watchman. 'Tis the Lord Hastings, the king's chiefest friend.
  • Third Watchman. O, is it so? But why commands the king 2175
    That his chief followers lodge in towns about him,
    While he himself keeps in the cold field?
  • Second Watchman. 'Tis the more honour, because more dangerous.
  • Third Watchman. Ay, but give me worship and quietness;
    I like it better than a dangerous honour. 2180
    If Warwick knew in what estate he stands,
    'Tis to be doubted he would waken him.
  • First Watchman. Unless our halberds did shut up his passage.
  • Second Watchman. Ay, wherefore else guard we his royal tent,
    But to defend his person from night-foes? 2185
    French soldiers, silent all]
  • Earl of Warwick. This is his tent; and see where stand his guard.
    Courage, my masters! honour now or never!
    But follow me, and Edward shall be ours. 2190
  • First Watchman. Who goes there?
  • Second Watchman. Stay, or thou diest!
    [WARWICK and the rest cry all, 'Warwick! Warwick!']
    and set upon the Guard, who fly, crying, 'Arm!
    arm!' WARWICK and the rest following them] 2195
    [The drum playing and trumpet sounding, reenter]
    WARWICK, SOMERSET, and the rest, bringing KING
    EDWARD IV out in his gown, sitting in a chair.
    RICHARD and HASTINGS fly over the stage]
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. What are they that fly there? 2200
  • Earl of Warwick. Richard and Hastings: let them go; here is The duke.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). The duke! Why, Warwick, when we parted,
    Thou call'dst me king.
  • Earl of Warwick. Ay, but the case is alter'd:
    When you disgraced me in my embassade, 2205
    Then I degraded you from being king,
    And come now to create you Duke of York.
    Alas! how should you govern any kingdom,
    That know not how to use ambassadors,
    Nor how to be contented with one wife, 2210
    Nor how to use your brothers brotherly,
    Nor how to study for the people's welfare,
    Nor how to shroud yourself from enemies?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Yea, brother of Clarence, are thou here too?
    Nay, then I see that Edward needs must down. 2215
    Yet, Warwick, in despite of all mischance,
    Of thee thyself and all thy complices,
    Edward will always bear himself as king:
    Though fortune's malice overthrow my state,
    My mind exceeds the compass of her wheel. 2220
  • Earl of Warwick. Then, for his mind, be Edward England's king:
    [Takes off his crown]
    But Henry now shall wear the English crown,
    And be true king indeed, thou but the shadow.
    My Lord of Somerset, at my request, 2225
    See that forthwith Duke Edward be convey'd
    Unto my brother, Archbishop of York.
    When I have fought with Pembroke and his fellows,
    I'll follow you, and tell what answer
    Lewis and the Lady Bona send to him. 2230
    Now, for a while farewell, good Duke of York.

[They lead him out forcibly]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What fates impose, that men must needs abide;
    It boots not to resist both wind and tide.

[Exit, guarded]

  • Earl Oxford. What now remains, my lords, for us to do
    But march to London with our soldiers?
  • Earl of Warwick. Ay, that's the first thing that we have to do;
    To free King Henry from imprisonment
    And see him seated in the regal throne. 2240