Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act IV, Scene 7

Before York.


[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,] [p]HASTINGS, and Soldiers]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, brother Richard, Lord Hastings, and the rest,
    Yet thus far fortune maketh us amends, 2425
    And says that once more I shall interchange
    My waned state for Henry's regal crown.
    Well have we pass'd and now repass'd the seas
    And brought desired help from Burgundy:
    What then remains, we being thus arrived 2430
    From Ravenspurgh haven before the gates of York,
    But that we enter, as into our dukedom?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The gates made fast! Brother, I like not this;
    For many men that stumble at the threshold
    Are well foretold that danger lurks within. 2435
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Tush, man, abodements must not now affright us:
    By fair or foul means we must enter in,
    For hither will our friends repair to us.
  • Lord Hastings. My liege, I'll knock once more to summon them.

[Enter, on the walls, the Mayor of York, and his Brethren]

  • Mayor of York. My lords, we were forewarned of your coming,
    And shut the gates for safety of ourselves;
    For now we owe allegiance unto Henry.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But, master mayor, if Henry be your king,
    Yet Edward at the least is Duke of York. 2445
  • Mayor of York. True, my good lord; I know you for no less.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, and I challenge nothing but my dukedom,
    As being well content with that alone.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] But when the fox hath once got in his nose,
    He'll soon find means to make the body follow. 2450
  • Lord Hastings. Why, master mayor, why stand you in a doubt?
    Open the gates; we are King Henry's friends.
  • Mayor of York. Ay, say you so? the gates shall then be open'd.

[They descend]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A wise stout captain, and soon persuaded! 2455
  • Lord Hastings. The good old man would fain that all were well,
    So 'twere not 'long of him; but being enter'd,
    I doubt not, I, but we shall soon persuade
    Both him and all his brothers unto reason.

[Enter the Mayor and two Aldermen, below]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). So, master mayor: these gates must not be shut
    But in the night or in the time of war.
    What! fear not, man, but yield me up the keys;
    [Takes his keys]
    For Edward will defend the town and thee, 2465
    And all those friends that deign to follow me.

[March. Enter MONTGOMERY, with drum and soldiers]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery,
    Our trusty friend, unless I be deceived.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Welcome, Sir John! But why come you in arms? 2470
  • Marquess of Montague. To help King Edward in his time of storm,
    As every loyal subject ought to do.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Thanks, good Montgomery; but we now forget
    Our title to the crown and only claim
    Our dukedom till God please to send the rest. 2475
  • Marquess of Montague. Then fare you well, for I will hence again:
    I came to serve a king and not a duke.
    Drummer, strike up, and let us march away.

[The drum begins to march]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Nay, stay, Sir John, awhile, and we'll debate 2480
    By what safe means the crown may be recover'd.
  • Marquess of Montague. What talk you of debating? in few words,
    If you'll not here proclaim yourself our king,
    I'll leave you to your fortune and be gone
    To keep them back that come to succor you: 2485
    Why shall we fight, if you pretend no title?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, brother, wherefore stand you on nice points?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). When we grow stronger, then we'll make our claim:
    Till then, 'tis wisdom to conceal our meaning.
  • Lord Hastings. Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule. 2490
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns.
    Brother, we will proclaim you out of hand:
    The bruit thereof will bring you many friends.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Then be it as you will; for 'tis my right,
    And Henry but usurps the diadem. 2495
  • Marquess of Montague. Ay, now my sovereign speaketh like himself;
    And now will I be Edward's champion.
  • Lord Hastings. Sound trumpet; Edward shall be here proclaim'd:
    Come, fellow-soldier, make thou proclamation.


  • Soldier. Edward the Fourth, by the grace of God, king of
    England and France, and lord of Ireland, &c.
  • Marquess of Montague. And whosoe'er gainsays King Edward's right,
    By this I challenge him to single fight.

[Throws down his gauntlet]

  • All. Long live Edward the Fourth!
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Thanks, brave Montgomery; and thanks unto you all:
    If fortune serve me, I'll requite this kindness.
    Now, for this night, let's harbour here in York;
    And when the morning sun shall raise his car 2510
    Above the border of this horizon,
    We'll forward towards Warwick and his mates;
    For well I wot that Henry is no soldier.
    Ah, froward Clarence! how evil it beseems thee
    To flatter Henry and forsake thy brother! 2515
    Yet, as we may, we'll meet both thee and Warwick.
    Come on, brave soldiers: doubt not of the day,
    And, that once gotten, doubt not of large pay.