Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part III

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Act V, Scene 1



[Enter WARWICK, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers,] [p]and others upon the walls]

  • Earl of Warwick. Where is the post that came from valiant Oxford?
    How far hence is thy lord, mine honest fellow?
  • First Messenger. By this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward. 2595
  • Earl of Warwick. How far off is our brother Montague?
    Where is the post that came from Montague?
  • Second Messenger. By this at Daintry, with a puissant troop.


  • Earl of Warwick. Say, Somerville, what says my loving son? 2600
    And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. At Southam I did leave him with his forces,
    And do expect him here some two hours hence.

[Drum heard]

  • Earl of Warwick. Then Clarence is at hand, I hear his drum. 2605
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies:
    The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.
  • Earl of Warwick. Who should that be? belike, unlook'd-for friends.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.
    [March: flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,] 2610
    and soldiers]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). See how the surly Warwick mans the wall!
  • Earl of Warwick. O unbid spite! is sportful Edward come?
    Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced, 2615
    That we could hear no news of his repair?
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, Warwick, wilt thou ope the city gates,
    Speak gentle words and humbly bend thy knee,
    Call Edward king and at his hands beg mercy?
    And he shall pardon thee these outrages. 2620
  • Earl of Warwick. Nay, rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence,
    Confess who set thee up and pluck'd thee own,
    Call Warwick patron and be penitent?
    And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I thought, at least, he would have said the king; 2625
    Or did he make the jest against his will?
  • Earl of Warwick. Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give:
    I'll do thee service for so good a gift.
  • Earl of Warwick. 'Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother. 2630
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why then 'tis mine, if but by Warwick's gift.
  • Earl of Warwick. Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight:
    And weakling, Warwick takes his gift again;
    And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). But Warwick's king is Edward's prisoner: 2635
    And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this:
    What is the body when the head is off?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Alas, that Warwick had no more forecast,
    But, whiles he thought to steal the single ten,
    The king was slily finger'd from the deck! 2640
    You left poor Henry at the Bishop's palace,
    And, ten to one, you'll meet him in the Tower.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). 'Tis even so; yet you are Warwick still.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, Warwick, take the time; kneel down, kneel down:
    Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools. 2645
  • Earl of Warwick. I had rather chop this hand off at a blow,
    And with the other fling it at thy face,
    Than bear so low a sail, to strike to thee.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,
    This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair 2650
    Shall, whiles thy head is warm and new cut off,
    Write in the dust this sentence with thy blood,
    'Wind-changing Warwick now can change no more.'

[Enter OXFORD, with drum and colours]

  • Earl of Warwick. O cheerful colours! see where Oxford comes! 2655
  • Earl Oxford. Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The gates are open, let us enter too.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). So other foes may set upon our backs.
    Stand we in good array; for they no doubt 2660
    Will issue out again and bid us battle:
    If not, the city being but of small defence,
    We'll quickly rouse the traitors in the same.
  • Earl of Warwick. O, welcome, Oxford! for we want thy help.

[Enter MONTAGUE with drum and colours]

  • Marquess of Montague. Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason
    Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). The harder match'd, the greater victory: 2670
    My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.

[Enter SOMERSET, with drum and colours]

  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset, 2675
    Have sold their lives unto the house of York;
    And thou shalt be the third if this sword hold.

[Enter CLARENCE, with drum and colours]

  • Earl of Warwick. And lo, where George of Clarence sweeps along,
    Of force enough to bid his brother battle; 2680
    With whom an upright zeal to right prevails
    More than the nature of a brother's love!
    Come, Clarence, come; thou wilt, if Warwick call.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Father of Warwick, know you what this means?
    [Taking his red rose out of his hat] 2685
    Look here, I throw my infamy at thee
    I will not ruinate my father's house,
    Who gave his blood to lime the stones together,
    And set up Lancaster. Why, trow'st thou, Warwick,
    That Clarence is so harsh, so blunt, unnatural, 2690
    To bend the fatal instruments of war
    Against his brother and his lawful king?
    Perhaps thou wilt object my holy oath:
    To keep that oath were more impiety
    Than Jephthah's, when he sacrificed his daughter. 2695
    I am so sorry for my trespass made
    That, to deserve well at my brother's hands,
    I here proclaim myself thy mortal foe,
    With resolution, wheresoe'er I meet thee—
    As I will meet thee, if thou stir abroad— 2700
    To plague thee for thy foul misleading me.
    And so, proud-hearted Warwick, I defy thee,
    And to my brother turn my blushing cheeks.
    Pardon me, Edward, I will make amends:
    And, Richard, do not frown upon my faults, 2705
    For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now welcome more, and ten times more beloved,
    Than if thou never hadst deserved our hate.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Welcome, good Clarence; this is brotherlike.
  • Earl of Warwick. O passing traitor, perjured and unjust! 2710
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight?
    Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?
  • Earl of Warwick. Alas, I am not coop'd here for defence!
    I will away towards Barnet presently,
    And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou darest. 2715
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Yes, Warwick, Edward dares, and leads the way.
    Lords, to the field; Saint George and victory!
    [Exeunt King Edward and his company. March. Warwick]
    and his company follow]