Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act IV, Scene 4

London. The palace.



  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Madam, what makes you in this sudden change?
  • Queen Elizabeth. Why brother Rivers, are you yet to learn
    What late misfortune is befall'n King Edward? 2245
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. What! loss of some pitch'd battle against Warwick?
  • Queen Elizabeth. No, but the loss of his own royal person.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Then is my sovereign slain?
  • Queen Elizabeth. Ay, almost slain, for he is taken prisoner,
    Either betray'd by falsehood of his guard 2250
    Or by his foe surprised at unawares:
    And, as I further have to understand,
    Is new committed to the Bishop of York,
    Fell Warwick's brother and by that our foe.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. These news I must confess are full of grief; 2255
    Yet, gracious madam, bear it as you may:
    Warwick may lose, that now hath won the day.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Till then fair hope must hinder life's decay.
    And I the rather wean me from despair
    For love of Edward's offspring in my womb: 2260
    This is it that makes me bridle passion
    And bear with mildness my misfortune's cross;
    Ay, ay, for this I draw in many a tear
    And stop the rising of blood-sucking sighs,
    Lest with my sighs or tears I blast or drown 2265
    King Edward's fruit, true heir to the English crown.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. But, madam, where is Warwick then become?
  • Queen Elizabeth. I am inform'd that he comes towards London,
    To set the crown once more on Henry's head:
    Guess thou the rest; King Edward's friends must down, 2270
    But, to prevent the tyrant's violence,—
    For trust not him that hath once broken faith,—
    I'll hence forthwith unto the sanctuary,
    To save at least the heir of Edward's right:
    There shall I rest secure from force and fraud. 2275
    Come, therefore, let us fly while we may fly:
    If Warwick take us we are sure to die.