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I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man.

      — Julius Caesar, Act III Scene 2


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History of Henry VI, Part III

Act V

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Scene 1. Coventry.

Scene 2. A field of battle near Barnet.

Scene 3. Another part of the field.

Scene 4. Plains near Tewksbury.

Scene 5. Another part of the field.

Scene 6. London. The Tower.

Scene 7. London. The palace.


Act V, Scene 1


      next scene .

[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?
  • Earl of Warwick. How far off is our brother Montague?
    Where is the post that came from Montague?


  • 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]

  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies:
    The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.
    [March: flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,] 2610
    and soldiers]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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]

[He and his forces enter the city]

  • 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.

[Enter MONTAGUE with drum and colours]

[He and his forces enter the city]

[Enter SOMERSET, with drum and colours]

[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.
  • 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]
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

A field of battle near Barnet.

      next scene .

[Alarum and excursions. Enter KING EDWARD IV, bringing] [p]forth WARWICK wounded]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). So, lie thou there: die thou, and die our fear;
    For Warwick was a bug that fear'd us all.
    Now, Montague, sit fast; I seek for thee,
    That Warwick's bones may keep thine company. 2725


  • Earl of Warwick. Ah, who is nigh? come to me, friend or foe,
    And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick?
    Why ask I that? my mangled body shows,
    My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shows. 2730
    That I must yield my body to the earth
    And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe.
    Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge,
    Whose arms gave shelter to the princely eagle,
    Under whose shade the ramping lion slept, 2735
    Whose top-branch overpeer'd Jove's spreading tree
    And kept low shrubs from winter's powerful wind.
    These eyes, that now are dimm'd with death's black veil,
    Have been as piercing as the mid-day sun,
    To search the secret treasons of the world: 2740
    The wrinkles in my brows, now filled with blood,
    Were liken'd oft to kingly sepulchres;
    For who lived king, but I could dig his grave?
    And who durst mine when Warwick bent his brow?
    Lo, now my glory smear'd in dust and blood! 2745
    My parks, my walks, my manors that I had.
    Even now forsake me, and of all my lands
    Is nothing left me but my body's length.
    Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?
    And, live we how we can, yet die we must. 2750


  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Ah, Warwick, Warwick! wert thou as we are.
    We might recover all our loss again;
    The queen from France hath brought a puissant power:
    Even now we heard the news: ah, could'st thou fly! 2755
  • Earl of Warwick. Why, then I would not fly. Ah, Montague,
    If thou be there, sweet brother, take my hand.
    And with thy lips keep in my soul awhile!
    Thou lovest me not; for, brother, if thou didst,
    Thy tears would wash this cold congealed blood 2760
    That glues my lips and will not let me speak.
    Come quickly, Montague, or I am dead.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Ah, Warwick! Montague hath breathed his last;
    And to the latest gasp cried out for Warwick,
    And said 'Commend me to my valiant brother.' 2765
    And more he would have said, and more he spoke,
    Which sounded like a clamour in a vault,
    That mought not be distinguished; but at last
    I well might hear, delivered with a groan,
    'O, farewell, Warwick!' 2770
  • Earl of Warwick. Sweet rest his soul! Fly, lords, and save yourselves;
    For Warwick bids you all farewell to meet in heaven.


  • Earl Oxford. Away, away, to meet the queen's great power!

[Here they bear away his body. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

Another part of the field.

      next scene .

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV in triumph; with] [p]GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and the rest]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course,
    And we are graced with wreaths of victory.
    But, in the midst of this bright-shining day, 2780
    I spy a black, suspicious, threatening cloud,
    That will encounter with our glorious sun,
    Ere he attain his easeful western bed:
    I mean, my lords, those powers that the queen
    Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast 2785
    And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). A little gale will soon disperse that cloud
    And blow it to the source from whence it came:
    The very beams will dry those vapours up,
    For every cloud engenders not a storm. 2790
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The queen is valued thirty thousand strong,
    And Somerset, with Oxford fled to her:
    If she have time to breathe be well assured
    Her faction will be full as strong as ours.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). We are advertised by our loving friends 2795
    That they do hold their course toward Tewksbury:
    We, having now the best at Barnet field,
    Will thither straight, for willingness rids way;
    And, as we march, our strength will be augmented
    In every county as we go along. 2800
    Strike up the drum; cry 'Courage!' and away.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

Plains near Tewksbury.

      next scene .


  • Queen Margaret. Great lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss, 2805
    But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
    What though the mast be now blown overboard,
    The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
    And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood?
    Yet lives our pilot still. Is't meet that he 2810
    Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad
    With tearful eyes add water to the sea
    And give more strength to that which hath too much,
    Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,
    Which industry and courage might have saved? 2815
    Ah, what a shame! ah, what a fault were this!
    Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
    And Montague our topmost; what of him?
    Our slaughter'd friends the tackles; what of these?
    Why, is not Oxford here another anchor? 2820
    And Somerset another goodly mast?
    The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
    And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I
    For once allow'd the skilful pilot's charge?
    We will not from the helm to sit and weep, 2825
    But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,
    From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck.
    As good to chide the waves as speak them fair.
    And what is Edward but ruthless sea?
    What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit? 2830
    And Richard but a ragged fatal rock?
    All these the enemies to our poor bark.
    Say you can swim; alas, 'tis but a while!
    Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink:
    Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off, 2835
    Or else you famish; that's a threefold death.
    This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
    If case some one of you would fly from us,
    That there's no hoped-for mercy with the brothers
    More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks. 2840
    Why, courage then! what cannot be avoided
    'Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
  • Prince Edward. Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit
    Should, if a coward heard her speak these words,
    Infuse his breast with magnanimity 2845
    And make him, naked, foil a man at arms.
    I speak not this as doubting any here
    For did I but suspect a fearful man
    He should have leave to go away betimes,
    Lest in our need he might infect another 2850
    And make him of like spirit to himself.
    If any such be here—as God forbid!—
    Let him depart before we need his help.
  • Earl Oxford. Women and children of so high a courage,
    And warriors faint! why, 'twere perpetual shame. 2855
    O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
    Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
    To bear his image and renew his glories!
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. And he that will not fight for such a hope.
    Go home to bed, and like the owl by day, 2860
    If he arise, be mock'd and wonder'd at.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand. 2865
    Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
  • Earl Oxford. I thought no less: it is his policy
    To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
  • Earl Oxford. Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.
    [Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,]
    CLARENCE, and soldiers]
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood,
    Which, by the heavens' assistance and your strength, 2875
    Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
    I need not add more fuel to your fire,
    For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out
    Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!
  • Queen Margaret. Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say 2880
    My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
    Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
    Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your sovereign,
    Is prisoner to the foe; his state usurp'd,
    His realm a slaughter-house, his subjects slain, 2885
    His statutes cancell'd and his treasure spent;
    And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
    You fight in justice: then, in God's name, lords,
    Be valiant and give signal to the fight.

[Alarum. Retreat. Excursions. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 5

Another part of the field.

      next scene .

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE,] [p]and soldiers; with QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and [p]SOMERSET, prisoners]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now here a period of tumultuous broils.
    Away with Oxford to Hames Castle straight: 2895
    For Somerset, off with his guilty head.
    Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.
  • Earl Oxford. For my part, I'll not trouble thee with words.

[Exeunt Oxford and Somerset, guarded]

  • Queen Margaret. So part we sadly in this troublous world,
    To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.

[Enter soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Bring forth the gallant, let us hear him speak.
    What! can so young a thorn begin to prick?
    Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make
    For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects, 2910
    And all the trouble thou hast turn'd me to?
  • Prince Edward. Speak like a subject, proud ambitious York!
    Suppose that I am now my father's mouth;
    Resign thy chair, and where I stand kneel thou,
    Whilst I propose the selfsame words to thee, 2915
    Which traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.
  • Prince Edward. Let AEsop fable in a winter's night; 2920
    His currish riddles sort not with this place.
  • Prince Edward. Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather. 2925
  • Prince Edward. I know my duty; you are all undutiful:
    Lascivious Edward, and thou perjured George,
    And thou mis-shapen Dick, I tell ye all 2930
    I am your better, traitors as ye are:
    And thou usurp'st my father's right and mine.

[Stabs him]

[Stabs him]

[Stabs him]

[Offers to kill her]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother; 2945
    I'll hence to London on a serious matter:
    Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.


  • Queen Margaret. O Ned, sweet Ned! speak to thy mother, boy!
    Canst thou not speak? O traitors! murderers!
    They that stabb'd Caesar shed no blood at all,
    Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame,
    If this foul deed were by to equal it: 2955
    He was a man; this, in respect, a child:
    And men ne'er spend their fury on a child.
    What's worse than murderer, that I may name it?
    No, no, my heart will burst, and if I speak:
    And I will speak, that so my heart may burst. 2960
    Butchers and villains! bloody cannibals!
    How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp'd!
    You have no children, butchers! if you had,
    The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse:
    But if you ever chance to have a child, 2965
    Look in his youth to have him so cut off
    As, deathmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!
  • Queen Margaret. Nay, never bear me hence, dispatch me here,
    Here sheathe thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death: 2970
    What, wilt thou not? then, Clarence, do it thou.
  • Queen Margaret. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself: 2975
    'Twas sin before, but now 'tis charity.
    What, wilt thou not? Where is that devil's butcher,
    Hard-favour'd Richard? Richard, where art thou?
    Thou art not here: murder is thy alms-deed;
    Petitioners for blood thou ne'er put'st back. 2980

[Exit, led out forcibly]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). He's sudden, if a thing comes in his head.
    Now march we hence: discharge the common sort
    With pay and thanks, and let's away to London
    And see our gentle queen how well she fares: 2990
    By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 6

London. The Tower.

      next scene .

[Enter KING HENRY VI and GLOUCESTER, with the] [p]Lieutenant, on the walls]

  • Henry VI. Ay, my good lord:—my lord, I should say rather;
    'Tis sin to flatter; 'good' was little better:
    'Good Gloucester' and 'good devil' were alike,
    And both preposterous; therefore, not 'good lord.'

[Exit Lieutenant]

  • Henry VI. So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf;
    So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece
    And next his throat unto the butcher's knife.
    What scene of death hath Roscius now to act? 3005
  • Henry VI. The bird that hath been limed in a bush,
    With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush;
    And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird, 3010
    Have now the fatal object in my eye
    Where my poor young was limed, was caught and kill'd.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete,
    That taught his son the office of a fowl!
    An yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown'd. 3015
  • Henry VI. I, Daedalus; my poor boy, Icarus;
    Thy father, Minos, that denied our course;
    The sun that sear'd the wings of my sweet boy
    Thy brother Edward, and thyself the sea
    Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life. 3020
    Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words!
    My breast can better brook thy dagger's point
    Than can my ears that tragic history.
    But wherefore dost thou come? is't for my life?
  • Henry VI. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art:
    If murdering innocents be executing,
    Why, then thou art an executioner.
  • Henry VI. Hadst thou been kill'd when first thou didst presume, 3030
    Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine.
    And thus I prophesy, that many a thousand,
    Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear,
    And many an old man's sigh and many a widow's,
    And many an orphan's water-standing eye— 3035
    Men for their sons, wives for their husbands,
    And orphans for their parents timeless death—
    Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
    The owl shriek'd at thy birth,—an evil sign;
    The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time; 3040
    Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempest shook down trees;
    The raven rook'd her on the chimney's top,
    And chattering pies in dismal discords sung.
    Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain,
    And, yet brought forth less than a mother's hope, 3045
    To wit, an indigested and deformed lump,
    Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.
    Teeth hadst thou in thy head when thou wast born,
    To signify thou camest to bite the world:
    And, if the rest be true which I have heard, 3050
    Thou camest—
  • Henry VI. Ay, and for much more slaughter after this. 3055
    God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, will the aspiring blood of Lancaster
    Sink in the ground? I thought it would have mounted.
    See how my sword weeps for the poor king's death! 3060
    O, may such purple tears be alway shed
    From those that wish the downfall of our house!
    If any spark of life be yet remaining,
    Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither:
    [Stabs him again] 3065
    I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear.
    Indeed, 'tis true that Henry told me of;
    For I have often heard my mother say
    I came into the world with my legs forward:
    Had I not reason, think ye, to make haste, 3070
    And seek their ruin that usurp'd our right?
    The midwife wonder'd and the women cried
    'O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!'
    And so I was; which plainly signified
    That I should snarl and bite and play the dog. 3075
    Then, since the heavens have shaped my body so,
    Let hell make crook'd my mind to answer it.
    I have no brother, I am like no brother;
    And this word 'love,' which graybeards call divine,
    Be resident in men like one another 3080
    And not in me: I am myself alone.
    Clarence, beware; thou keep'st me from the light:
    But I will sort a pitchy day for thee;
    For I will buz abroad such prophecies
    That Edward shall be fearful of his life, 3085
    And then, to purge his fear, I'll be thy death.
    King Henry and the prince his son are gone:
    Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest,
    Counting myself but bad till I be best.
    I'll throw thy body in another room 3090
    And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.

[Exit, with the body]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 7

London. The palace.


[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, QUEEN ELIZABETH,] [p]CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, a Nurse with the [p]young Prince, and Attendants]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Once more we sit in England's royal throne,
    Re-purchased with the blood of enemies.
    What valiant foemen, like to autumn's corn,
    Have we mow'd down, in tops of all their pride!
    Three Dukes of Somerset, threefold renown'd 3100
    For hardy and undoubted champions;
    Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,
    And two Northumberlands; two braver men
    Ne'er spurr'd their coursers at the trumpet's sound;
    With them, the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague, 3105
    That in their chains fetter'd the kingly lion
    And made the forest tremble when they roar'd.
    Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat
    And made our footstool of security.
    Come hither, Bess, and let me kiss my boy. 3110
    Young Ned, for thee, thine uncles and myself
    Have in our armours watch'd the winter's night,
    Went all afoot in summer's scalding heat,
    That thou mightst repossess the crown in peace;
    And of our labours thou shalt reap the gain. 3115
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] I'll blast his harvest, if your head were laid;
    For yet I am not look'd on in the world.
    This shoulder was ordain'd so thick to heave;
    And heave it shall some weight, or break my back:
    Work thou the way,—and thou shalt execute. 3120
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And, that I love the tree from whence thou sprang'st,
    Witness the loving kiss I give the fruit.
    [Aside] To say the truth, so Judas kiss'd his master,]
    And cried 'all hail!' when as he meant all harm.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). What will your grace have done with Margaret?
    Reignier, her father, to the king of France
    Hath pawn'd the Sicils and Jerusalem,
    And hither have they sent it for her ransom. 3135
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Away with her, and waft her hence to France.
    And now what rests but that we spend the time
    With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows,
    Such as befits the pleasure of the court?
    Sound drums and trumpets! farewell sour annoy! 3140
    For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy.