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Home > King Henry IV Part 3 > ACT II - SCENE II. Before York.

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ACT II - SCENE II. Before York.
QUEEN MARGARET
1    Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of York.
2    Yonder's the head of that arch-enemy
3    That sought to be encompass'd with your crown:
4    Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?
KING HENRY VI
5    Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wreck:
6    To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
7    Withhold revenge, dear God! 'tis not my fault,
8    Nor wittingly have I infringed my vow.
CLIFFORD
9    My gracious liege, this too much lenity
10   And harmful pity must be laid aside.
11   To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
12   Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
13   Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick?
14   Not his that spoils her young before her face.
15   Who 'scapes the lurking serpent's mortal sting?
16   Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
17   The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
18   And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
19   Ambitious York doth level at thy crown,
20   Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows:
21   He, but a duke, would have his son a king,
22   And raise his issue, like a loving sire;
23   Thou, being a king, blest with a goodly son,
24   Didst yield consent to disinherit him,
25   Which argued thee a most unloving father.
26   Unreasonable creatures feed their young;
27   And though man's face be fearful to their eyes,
28   Yet, in protection of their tender ones,
29   Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
30   Which sometime they have used with fearful flight,
31   Make war with him that climb'd unto their nest,
32   Offer their own lives in their young's defence?
33   For shame, my liege, make them your precedent!
34   Were it not pity that this goodly boy
35   Should lose his birthright by his father's fault,
36   And long hereafter say unto his child,
37   'What my great-grandfather and his grandsire got
38   My careless father fondly gave away'?
39   Ah, what a shame were this! Look on the boy;
40   And let his manly face, which promiseth
41   Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart
42   To hold thine own and leave thine own with him.
KING HENRY VI
43   Full well hath Clifford play'd the orator,
44   Inferring arguments of mighty force.
45   But, Clifford, tell me, didst thou never hear
46   That things ill-got had ever bad success?
47   And happy always was it for that son
48   Whose father for his hoarding went to hell?
49   I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
50   And would my father had left me no more!
51   For all the rest is held at such a rate
52   As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep
53   Than in possession and jot of pleasure.
54   Ah, cousin York! would thy best friends did know
55   How it doth grieve me that thy head is here!
QUEEN MARGARET
56   My lord, cheer up your spirits: our foes are nigh,
57   And this soft courage makes your followers faint.
58   You promised knighthood to our forward son:
59   Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently.
60   Edward, kneel down.
KING HENRY VI
61   Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight;
62   And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right.
PRINCE
63   My gracious father, by your kingly leave,
64   I'll draw it as apparent to the crown,
65   And in that quarrel use it to the death.
CLIFFORD
66   Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.
Enter a Messenger

Messenger
67   Royal commanders, be in readiness:
68   For with a band of thirty thousand men
69   Comes Warwick, backing of the Duke of York;
70   And in the towns, as they do march along,
71   Proclaims him king, and many fly to him:
72   Darraign your battle, for they are at hand.
CLIFFORD
73   I would your highness would depart the field:
74   The queen hath best success when you are absent.
QUEEN MARGARET
75   Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.
KING HENRY VI
76   Why, that's my fortune too; therefore I'll stay.
NORTHUMBERLAND
77   Be it with resolution then to fight.
PRINCE EDWARD
78   My royal father, cheer these noble lords
79   And hearten those that fight in your defence:
80   Unsheathe your sword, good father; cry 'Saint George!'
EDWARD
81   Now, perjured Henry! wilt thou kneel for grace,
82   And set thy diadem upon my head;
83   Or bide the mortal fortune of the field?
QUEEN MARGARET
84   Go, rate thy minions, proud insulting boy!
85   Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms
86   Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?
EDWARD
87   I am his king, and he should bow his knee;
88   I was adopted heir by his consent:
89   Since when, his oath is broke; for, as I hear,
90   You, that are king, though he do wear the crown,
91   Have caused him, by new act of parliament,
92   To blot out me, and put his own son in.
CLIFFORD
93   And reason too:
94   Who should succeed the father but the son?
RICHARD
95   Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak!
CLIFFORD
96   Ay, crook-back, here I stand to answer thee,
97   Or any he the proudest of thy sort.
RICHARD
98   'Twas you that kill'd young Rutland, was it not?
CLIFFORD
99   Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.
RICHARD
100  For God's sake, lords, give signal to the fight.
WARWICK
101  What say'st thou, Henry, wilt thou yield the crown?
QUEEN MARGARET
102  Why, how now, long-tongued Warwick! dare you speak?
103  When you and I met at Saint Alban's last,
104  Your legs did better service than your hands.
WARWICK
105  Then 'twas my turn to fly, and now 'tis thine.
CLIFFORD
106  You said so much before, and yet you fled.
WARWICK
107  'Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.
NORTHUMBERLAND
108  No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.
RICHARD
109  Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.
110  Break off the parley; for scarce I can refrain
111  The execution of my big-swoln heart
112  Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.
CLIFFORD
113  I slew thy father, call'st thou him a child?
RICHARD
114  Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward,
115  As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland;
116  But ere sunset I'll make thee curse the deed.
KING HENRY VI
117  Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.
QUEEN MARGARET
118  Defy them then, or else hold close thy lips.
KING HENRY VI
119  I prithee, give no limits to my tongue:
120  I am a king, and privileged to speak.
CLIFFORD
121  My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
122  Cannot be cured by words; therefore be still.
RICHARD
123  Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword:
124  By him that made us all, I am resolved
125  that Clifford's manhood lies upon his tongue.
EDWARD
126  Say, Henry, shall I have my right, or no?
127  A thousand men have broke their fasts to-day,
128  That ne'er shall dine unless thou yield the crown.
WARWICK
129  If thou deny, their blood upon thy head;
130  For York in justice puts his armour on.
PRINCE EDWARD
131  If that be right which Warwick says is right,
132  There is no wrong, but every thing is right.
RICHARD
133  Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands;
134  For, well I wot, thou hast thy mother's tongue.
QUEEN MARGARET
135  But thou art neither like thy sire nor dam;
136  But like a foul mis-shapen stigmatic,
137  Mark'd by the destinies to be avoided,
138  As venom toads, or lizards' dreadful stings.
RICHARD
139  Iron of Naples hid with English gilt,
140  Whose father bears the title of a king,--
141  As if a channel should be call'd the sea,--
142  Shamest thou not, knowing whence thou art extraught,
143  To let thy tongue detect thy base-born heart?
EDWARD
144  A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns,
145  To make this shameless callet know herself.
146  Helen of Greece was fairer far than thou,
147  Although thy husband may be Menelaus;
148  And ne'er was Agamemnon's brother wrong'd
149  By that false woman, as this king by thee.
150  His father revell'd in the heart of France,
151  And tamed the king, and made the dauphin stoop;
152  And had he match'd according to his state,
153  He might have kept that glory to this day;
154  But when he took a beggar to his bed,
155  And graced thy poor sire with his bridal-day,
156  Even then that sunshine brew'd a shower for him,
157  That wash'd his father's fortunes forth of France,
158  And heap'd sedition on his crown at home.
159  For what hath broach'd this tumult but thy pride?
160  Hadst thou been meek, our title still had slept;
161  And we, in pity of the gentle king,
162  Had slipp'd our claim until another age.
GEORGE
163  But when we saw our sunshine made thy spring,
164  And that thy summer bred us no increase,
165  We set the axe to thy usurping root;
166  And though the edge hath something hit ourselves,
167  Yet, know thou, since we have begun to strike,
168  We'll never leave till we have hewn thee down,
169  Or bathed thy growing with our heated bloods.
EDWARD
170  And, in this resolution, I defy thee;
171  Not willing any longer conference,
172  Since thou deniest the gentle king to speak.
173  Sound trumpets! let our bloody colours wave!
174  And either victory, or else a grave.
QUEEN MARGARET
175  Stay, Edward.
EDWARD
176  No, wrangling woman, we'll no longer stay:
177  These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.
Exeunt
178  3 KING HENRY VI

< (Previous) ACT II, SCENE IACT II, SCENE III (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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