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Home > King Henry IV Part 3 > ACT II - SCENE I. A plain near Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire.

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ACT II - SCENE I. A plain near Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire.
A march. Enter EDWARD, RICHARD, and their power

EDWARD
1    I wonder how our princely father 'scaped,
2    Or whether he be 'scaped away or no
3    From Clifford's and Northumberland's pursuit:
4    Had he been ta'en, we should have heard the news;
5    Had he been slain, we should have heard the news;
6    Or had he 'scaped, methinks we should have heard
7    The happy tidings of his good escape.
8    How fares my brother? why is he so sad?
RICHARD
9    I cannot joy, until I be resolved
10   Where our right valiant father is become.
11   I saw him in the battle range about;
12   And watch'd him how he singled Clifford forth.
13   Methought he bore him in the thickest troop
14   As doth a lion in a herd of neat;
15   Or as a bear, encompass'd round with dogs,
16   Who having pinch'd a few and made them cry,
17   The rest stand all aloof, and bark at him.
18   So fared our father with his enemies;
19   So fled his enemies my warlike father:
20   Methinks, 'tis prize enough to be his son.
21   See how the morning opes her golden gates,
22   And takes her farewell of the glorious sun!
23   How well resembles it the prime of youth,
24   Trimm'd like a younker prancing to his love!
EDWARD
25   Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
RICHARD
26   Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;
27   Not separated with the racking clouds,
28   But sever'd in a pale clear-shining sky.
29   See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,
30   As if they vow'd some league inviolable:
31   Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.
32   In this the heaven figures some event.
EDWARD
33   'Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
34   I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
35   That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
36   Each one already blazing by our meeds,
37   Should notwithstanding join our lights together
38   And over-shine the earth as this the world.
39   Whate'er it bodes, henceforward will I bear
40   Upon my target three fair-shining suns.
RICHARD
41   Nay, bear three daughters: by your leave I speak it,
42   You love the breeder better than the male.
Enter a Messenger
43   But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell
44   Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue?
Messenger
45   Ah, one that was a woful looker-on
46   When as the noble Duke of York was slain,
47   Your princely father and my loving lord!
EDWARD
48   O, speak no more, for I have heard too much.
RICHARD
49   Say how he died, for I will hear it all.
Messenger
50   Environed he was with many foes,
51   And stood against them, as the hope of Troy
52   Against the Greeks that would have enter'd Troy.
53   But Hercules himself must yield to odds;
54   And many strokes, though with a little axe,
55   Hew down and fell the hardest-timber'd oak.
56   By many hands your father was subdued;
57   But only slaughter'd by the ireful arm
58   Of unrelenting Clifford and the queen,
59   Who crown'd the gracious duke in high despite,
60   Laugh'd in his face; and when with grief he wept,
61   The ruthless queen gave him to dry his cheeks
62   A napkin steeped in the harmless blood
63   Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain:
64   And after many scorns, many foul taunts,
65   They took his head, and on the gates of York
66   They set the same; and there it doth remain,
67   The saddest spectacle that e'er I view'd.
EDWARD
68   Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon,
69   Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay.
70   O Clifford, boisterous Clifford! thou hast slain
71   The flower of Europe for his chivalry;
72   And treacherously hast thou vanquish'd him,
73   For hand to hand he would have vanquish'd thee.
74   Now my soul's palace is become a prison:
75   Ah, would she break from hence, that this my body
76   Might in the ground be closed up in rest!
77   For never henceforth shall I joy again,
78   Never, O never shall I see more joy!
RICHARD
79   I cannot weep; for all my body's moisture
80   Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart:
81   Nor can my tongue unload my heart's great burthen;
82   For selfsame wind that I should speak withal
83   Is kindling coals that fires all my breast,
84   And burns me up with flames that tears would quench.
85   To weep is to make less the depth of grief:
86   Tears then for babes; blows and revenge for me
87   Richard, I bear thy name; I'll venge thy death,
88   Or die renowned by attempting it.
EDWARD
89   His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
90   His dukedom and his chair with me is left.
RICHARD
91   Nay, if thou be that princely eagle's bird,
92   Show thy descent by gazing 'gainst the sun:
93   For chair and dukedom, throne and kingdom say;
94   Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.
March. Enter WARWICK, MONTAGUE, and their army

WARWICK
95   How now, fair lords! What fare? what news abroad?
RICHARD
96   Great Lord of Warwick, if we should recount
97   Our baleful news, and at each word's deliverance
98   Stab poniards in our flesh till all were told,
99   The words would add more anguish than the wounds.
100  O valiant lord, the Duke of York is slain!
EDWARD
101  O Warwick, Warwick! that Plantagenet,
102  Which held three dearly as his soul's redemption,
103  Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.
WARWICK
104  Ten days ago I drown'd these news in tears;
105  And now, to add more measure to your woes,
106  I come to tell you things sith then befall'n.
107  After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought,
108  Where your brave father breathed his latest gasp,
109  Tidings, as swiftly as the posts could run,
110  Were brought me of your loss and his depart.
111  I, then in London keeper of the king,
112  Muster'd my soldiers, gather'd flocks of friends,
113  And very well appointed, as I thought,
114  March'd toward Saint Alban's to intercept the queen,
115  Bearing the king in my behalf along;
116  For by my scouts I was advertised
117  That she was coming with a full intent
118  To dash our late decree in parliament
119  Touching King Henry's oath and your succession.
120  Short tale to make, we at Saint Alban's met
121  Our battles join'd, and both sides fiercely fought:
122  But whether 'twas the coldness of the king,
123  Who look'd full gently on his warlike queen,
124  That robb'd my soldiers of their heated spleen;
125  Or whether 'twas report of her success;
126  Or more than common fear of Clifford's rigour,
127  Who thunders to his captives blood and death,
128  I cannot judge: but to conclude with truth,
129  Their weapons like to lightning came and went;
130  Our soldiers', like the night-owl's lazy flight,
131  Or like an idle thresher with a flail,
132  Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends.
133  I cheer'd them up with justice of our cause,
134  With promise of high pay and great rewards:
135  But all in vain; they had no heart to fight,
136  And we in them no hope to win the day;
137  So that we fled; the king unto the queen;
138  Lord George your brother, Norfolk and myself,
139  In haste, post-haste, are come to join with you:
140  For in the marches here we heard you were,
141  Making another head to fight again.
EDWARD
142  Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick?
143  And when came George from Burgundy to England?
WARWICK
144  Some six miles off the duke is with the soldiers;
145  And for your brother, he was lately sent
146  From your kind aunt, Duchess of Burgundy,
147  With aid of soldiers to this needful war.
RICHARD
148  'Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled:
149  Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
150  But ne'er till now his scandal of retire.
WARWICK
151  Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear;
152  For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine
153  Can pluck the diadem from faint Henry's head,
154  And wring the awful sceptre from his fist,
155  Were he as famous and as bold in war
156  As he is famed for mildness, peace, and prayer.
RICHARD
157  I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame me not:
158  'Tis love I bear thy glories makes me speak.
159  But in this troublous time what's to be done?
160  Shall we go throw away our coats of steel,
161  And wrap our bodies in black mourning gowns,
162  Numbering our Ave-Maries with our beads?
163  Or shall we on the helmets of our foes
164  Tell our devotion with revengeful arms?
165  If for the last, say ay, and to it, lords.
WARWICK
166  Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out;
167  And therefore comes my brother Montague.
168  Attend me, lords. The proud insulting queen,
169  With Clifford and the haught Northumberland,
170  And of their feather many more proud birds,
171  Have wrought the easy-melting king like wax.
172  He swore consent to your succession,
173  His oath enrolled in the parliament;
174  And now to London all the crew are gone,
175  To frustrate both his oath and what beside
176  May make against the house of Lancaster.
177  Their power, I think, is thirty thousand strong:
178  Now, if the help of Norfolk and myself,
179  With all the friends that thou, brave Earl of March,
180  Amongst the loving Welshmen canst procure,
181  Will but amount to five and twenty thousand,
182  Why, Via! to London will we march amain,
183  And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
184  And once again cry 'Charge upon our foes!'
185  But never once again turn back and fly.
RICHARD
186  Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak:
187  Ne'er may he live to see a sunshine day,
188  That cries 'Retire,' if Warwick bid him stay.
EDWARD
189  Lord Warwick, on thy shoulder will I lean;
190  And when thou fail'st--as God forbid the hour!--
191  Must Edward fall, which peril heaven forfend!
WARWICK
192  No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York:
193  The next degree is England's royal throne;
194  For King of England shalt thou be proclaim'd
195  In every borough as we pass along;
196  And he that throws not up his cap for joy
197  Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head.
198  King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
199  Stay we no longer, dreaming of renown,
200  But sound the trumpets, and about our task.
RICHARD
201  Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel,
202  As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds,
203  I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine.
EDWARD
204  Then strike up drums: God and Saint George for us!
Enter a Messenger

WARWICK
205  How now! what news?
Messenger
206  The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me,
207  The queen is coming with a puissant host;
208  And craves your company for speedy counsel.
WARWICK
209  Why then it sorts, brave warriors, let's away.
Exeunt
210  3 KING HENRY VI

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IVACT II, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII
  • SCENE VIII


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII

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