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History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act IV, Scene 6

London. The Tower.



  • Henry VI. Master lieutenant, now that God and friends 2315
    Have shaken Edward from the regal seat,
    And turn'd my captive state to liberty,
    My fear to hope, my sorrows unto joys,
    At our enlargement what are thy due fees?
  • Lieutenant. Subjects may challenge nothing of their sovereigns; 2320
    But if an humble prayer may prevail,
    I then crave pardon of your majesty.
  • Henry VI. For what, lieutenant? for well using me?
    Nay, be thou sure I'll well requite thy kindness,
    For that it made my imprisonment a pleasure; 2325
    Ay, such a pleasure as incaged birds
    Conceive when after many moody thoughts
    At last by notes of household harmony
    They quite forget their loss of liberty.
    But, Warwick, after God, thou set'st me free, 2330
    And chiefly therefore I thank God and thee;
    He was the author, thou the instrument.
    Therefore, that I may conquer fortune's spite
    By living low, where fortune cannot hurt me,
    And that the people of this blessed land 2335
    May not be punish'd with my thwarting stars,
    Warwick, although my head still wear the crown,
    I here resign my government to thee,
    For thou art fortunate in all thy deeds.
  • Earl of Warwick. Your grace hath still been famed for virtuous; 2340
    And now may seem as wise as virtuous,
    By spying and avoiding fortune's malice,
    For few men rightly temper with the stars:
    Yet in this one thing let me blame your grace,
    For choosing me when Clarence is in place. 2345
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). No, Warwick, thou art worthy of the sway,
    To whom the heavens in thy nativity
    Adjudged an olive branch and laurel crown,
    As likely to be blest in peace and war;
    And therefore I yield thee my free consent. 2350
  • Henry VI. Warwick and Clarence give me both your hands:
    Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts,
    That no dissension hinder government:
    I make you both protectors of this land, 2355
    While I myself will lead a private life
    And in devotion spend my latter days,
    To sin's rebuke and my Creator's praise.
  • Earl of Warwick. Why, then, though loath, yet must I be content:
    We'll yoke together, like a double shadow
    To Henry's body, and supply his place;
    I mean, in bearing weight of government, 2365
    While he enjoys the honour and his ease.
    And, Clarence, now then it is more than needful
    Forthwith that Edward be pronounced a traitor,
    And all his lands and goods be confiscate.
  • Henry VI. But, with the first of all your chief affairs,
    Let me entreat, for I command no more,
    That Margaret your queen and my son Edward
    Be sent for, to return from France with speed; 2375
    For, till I see them here, by doubtful fear
    My joy of liberty is half eclipsed.
  • Henry VI. My Lord of Somerset, what youth is that,
    Of whom you seem to have so tender care? 2380
  • Henry VI. Come hither, England's hope.
    [Lays his hand on his head]
    If secret powers
    Suggest but truth to my divining thoughts, 2385
    This pretty lad will prove our country's bliss.
    His looks are full of peaceful majesty,
    His head by nature framed to wear a crown,
    His hand to wield a sceptre, and himself
    Likely in time to bless a regal throne. 2390
    Make much of him, my lords, for this is he
    Must help you more than you are hurt by me.

[Enter a Post]

  • Post. That Edward is escaped from your brother, 2395
    And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.
  • Post. He was convey'd by Richard Duke of Gloucester
    And the Lord Hastings, who attended him
    In secret ambush on the forest side 2400
    And from the bishop's huntsmen rescued him;
    For hunting was his daily exercise.
  • Earl of Warwick. My brother was too careless of his charge.
    But let us hence, my sovereign, to provide
    A salve for any sore that may betide. 2405


  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. My lord, I like not of this flight of Edward's;
    For doubtless Burgundy will yield him help,
    And we shall have more wars before 't be long.
    As Henry's late presaging prophecy 2410
    Did glad my heart with hope of this young Richmond,
    So doth my heart misgive me, in these conflicts
    What may befall him, to his harm and ours:
    Therefore, Lord Oxford, to prevent the worst,
    Forthwith we'll send him hence to Brittany, 2415
    Till storms be past of civil enmity.
  • Earl Oxford. Ay, for if Edward repossess the crown,
    'Tis like that Richmond with the rest shall down.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. It shall be so; he shall to Brittany.
    Come, therefore, let's about it speedily. 2420