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Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.

      — Twelfth Night, Act II Scene 3


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History of Henry VI, Part III

Act IV

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Scene 1. London. The palace.

Scene 2. A plain in Warwickshire.

Scene 3. Edward’s camp, near Warwick.

Scene 4. London. The palace.

Scene 5. A park near Middleham Castle In Yorkshire.

Scene 6. London. The Tower.

Scene 7. Before York.

Scene 8. London. The palace.


Act IV, Scene 1

London. The palace.

      next scene .


  • 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?
  • 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). 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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). 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.
  • 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.

[Enter a Post]

  • 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.'
  • 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.'
  • 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]

  • 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.
  • 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.


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Act IV, Scene 2

A plain in Warwickshire.

      next scene .

[Enter WARWICK and OXFORD, with French soldiers]

  • Earl of Warwick. Trust me, my lord, all hitherto goes well;
    The common people by numbers swarm to us.
    But see where Somerset and Clarence come!
    Speak suddenly, my lords, are we all friends? 2135
  • Earl of Warwick. Then, gentle Clarence, welcome unto Warwick;
    And welcome, Somerset: I hold it cowardice
    To rest mistrustful where a noble heart
    Hath pawn'd an open hand in sign of love; 2140
    Else might I think that Clarence, Edward's brother,
    Were but a feigned friend to our proceedings:
    But welcome, sweet Clarence; my daughter shall be thine.
    And now what rests but, in night's coverture,
    Thy brother being carelessly encamp'd, 2145
    His soldiers lurking in the towns about,
    And but attended by a simple guard,
    We may surprise and take him at our pleasure?
    Our scouts have found the adventure very easy:
    That as Ulysses and stout Diomede 2150
    With sleight and manhood stole to Rhesus' tents,
    And brought from thence the Thracian fatal steeds,
    So we, well cover'd with the night's black mantle,
    At unawares may beat down Edward's guard
    And seize himself; I say not, slaughter him, 2155
    For I intend but only to surprise him.
    You that will follow me to this attempt,
    Applaud the name of Henry with your leader.
    [They all cry, 'Henry!']
    Why, then, let's on our way in silent sort: 2160
    For Warwick and his friends, God and Saint George!


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Act IV, Scene 3

Edward’s camp, near Warwick.

      next scene .

[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
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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]
  • 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]

[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


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Act IV, Scene 4

London. The palace.

      next scene .


  • Queen Elizabeth. Why brother Rivers, are you yet to learn
    What late misfortune is befall'n King Edward? 2245
  • 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.
  • 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.


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Act IV, Scene 5

A park near Middleham Castle In Yorkshire.

      next scene .


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, my Lord Hastings and Sir William Stanley, 2280
    Leave off to wonder why I drew you hither,
    Into this chiefest thicket of the park.
    Thus stands the case: you know our king, my brother,
    Is prisoner to the bishop here, at whose hands
    He hath good usage and great liberty, 2285
    And, often but attended with weak guard,
    Comes hunting this way to disport himself.
    I have advertised him by secret means
    That if about this hour he make his way
    Under the colour of his usual game, 2290
    He shall here find his friends with horse and men
    To set him free from his captivity.

[Enter KING EDWARD IV and a Huntsman with him]

  • Huntsman. This way, my lord; for this way lies the game.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Nay, this way, man: see where the huntsmen stand. 2295
    Now, brother of Gloucester, Lord Hastings, and the rest,
    Stand you thus close, to steal the bishop's deer?
  • Lord Hastings. To Lynn, my lord,
    And ship from thence to Flanders.
  • Huntsman. Better do so than tarry and be hang'd.


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Act IV, Scene 6

London. The Tower.

      next scene .


  • 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


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Act IV, Scene 7

Before York.

      next scene .

[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.

[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.
  • Lord Hastings. Why, master mayor, why stand you in a doubt?
    Open the gates; we are King Henry's friends.

[They descend]

  • 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]

  • 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]

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 8

London. The palace.



  • Earl of Warwick. What counsel, lords? Edward from Belgia,
    With hasty Germans and blunt Hollanders,
    Hath pass'd in safety through the narrow seas,
    And with his troops doth march amain to London; 2525
    And many giddy people flock to him.
  • Henry VI. Let's levy men, and beat him back again.
  • Earl of Warwick. In Warwickshire I have true-hearted friends, 2530
    Not mutinous in peace, yet bold in war;
    Those will I muster up: and thou, son Clarence,
    Shalt stir up in Suffolk, Norfolk, and in Kent,
    The knights and gentlemen to come with thee:
    Thou, brother Montague, in Buckingham, 2535
    Northampton and in Leicestershire, shalt find
    Men well inclined to hear what thou command'st:
    And thou, brave Oxford, wondrous well beloved,
    In Oxfordshire shalt muster up thy friends.
    My sovereign, with the loving citizens, 2540
    Like to his island girt in with the ocean,
    Or modest Dian circled with her nymphs,
    Shall rest in London till we come to him.
    Fair lords, take leave and stand not to reply.
    Farewell, my sovereign. 2545
  • Henry VI. Farewell, my Hector, and my Troy's true hope.
  • Henry VI. Well-minded Clarence, be thou fortunate!
  • Earl Oxford. And thus I seal my truth, and bid adieu. 2550
  • Henry VI. Sweet Oxford, and my loving Montague,
    And all at once, once more a happy farewell.

[Exeunt all but KING HENRY VI and EXETER]

  • Henry VI. Here at the palace I will rest awhile. 2555
    Cousin of Exeter, what thinks your lordship?
    Methinks the power that Edward hath in field
    Should not be able to encounter mine.
  • Henry VI. That's not my fear; my meed hath got me fame: 2560
    I have not stopp'd mine ears to their demands,
    Nor posted off their suits with slow delays;
    My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds,
    My mildness hath allay'd their swelling griefs,
    My mercy dried their water-flowing tears; 2565
    I have not been desirous of their wealth,
    Nor much oppress'd them with great subsidies.
    Nor forward of revenge, though they much err'd:
    Then why should they love Edward more than me?
    No, Exeter, these graces challenge grace: 2570
    And when the lion fawns upon the lamb,
    The lamb will never cease to follow him.

[Shout within. 'A Lancaster! A Lancaster!']

[Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Seize on the shame-faced Henry, bear him hence;
    And once again proclaim us King of England.
    You are the fount that makes small brooks to flow:
    Now stops thy spring; my sea shall suck them dry,
    And swell so much the higher by their ebb. 2580
    Hence with him to the Tower; let him not speak.
    [Exeunt some with KING HENRY VI]
    And, lords, towards Coventry bend we our course
    Where peremptory Warwick now remains:
    The sun shines hot; and, if we use delay, 2585
    Cold biting winter mars our hoped-for hay.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Away betimes, before his forces join,
    And take the great-grown traitor unawares:
    Brave warriors, march amain towards Coventry.