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King Henry VI, Part II

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ACT V SCENE I Fields between Dartford and Blackheath. 
[ Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum and colours ]
YORKFrom Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,
To entertain great England's lawful king.
Ah! sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear?5
Let them obey that know not how to rule;
This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
I cannot give due action to my words,
Except a sword or sceptre balance it:
A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,10
On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?
The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble.
BUCKINGHAMYork, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
YORKHumphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.15
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
BUCKINGHAMA messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,20
Should raise so great a power without his leave,
Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
YORK[Aside] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great:
O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
I am so angry at these abject terms;25
And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
I am far better born than is the king,
More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts:
But I must make fair weather yet a while,30
Till Henry be more weak and I more strong,--
Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
That I have given no answer all this while;
My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
The cause why I have brought this army hither35
Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
Seditious to his grace and to the state.
BUCKINGHAMThat is too much presumption on thy part:
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand:40
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
YORKUpon thine honour, is he prisoner?
BUCKINGHAMUpon mine honour, he is prisoner.
YORKThen, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.
Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;45
Meet me to-morrow in St. George's field,
You shall have pay and every thing you wish.
And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry,
Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
As pledges of my fealty and love;50
I'll send them all as willing as I live:
Lands, goods, horse, armour, any thing I have,
Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
BUCKINGHAMYork, I commend this kind submission:
We twain will go into his highness' tent.55
[Enter KING HENRY VI and Attendants]
KING HENRY VIBuckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,
That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
YORKIn all submission and humility
York doth present himself unto your highness.
KING HENRY VIThen what intends these forces thou dost bring?60
YORKTo heave the traitor Somerset from hence,
And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
Who since I heard to be discomfited.
[Enter IDEN, with CADE'S head]
IDENIf one so rude and of so mean condition
May pass into the presence of a king,65
Lo, I present your grace a traitor's head,
The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
KING HENRY VIThe head of Cade! Great God, how just art Thou!
O, let me view his visage, being dead,
That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.70
Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
IDENI was, an't like your majesty.
KING HENRY VIHow art thou call'd? and what is thy degree?
IDENAlexander Iden, that's my name;
A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.75
BUCKINGHAMSo please it you, my lord, 'twere not amiss
He were created knight for his good service.
KING HENRY VIIden, kneel down.
[He kneels]
Rise up a knight.
We give thee for reward a thousand marks,80
And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
IDENMay Iden live to merit such a bounty.
And never live but true unto his liege!
KING HENRY VISee, Buckingham, Somerset comes with the queen:
Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.85
QUEEN MARGARETFor thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
But boldly stand and front him to his face.
YORKHow now! is Somerset at liberty?
Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd thoughts,
And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.90
Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
King did I call thee? no, thou art not king,
Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,95
Which darest not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor.
That head of thine doth not become a crown;
Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff,
And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,100
Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
Is able with the change to kill and cure.
Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up
And with the same to act controlling laws.
Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more105
O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
SOMERSETO monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown;
Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
YORKWouldst have me kneel? first let me ask of these,110
If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail;
[Exit Attendant]
I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
QUEEN MARGARETCall hither Clifford! bid him come amain,115
To say if that the bastard boys of York
Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
YORKO blood-besotted Neapolitan,
Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!
The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,120
Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those
That for my surety will refuse the boys!
See where they come: I'll warrant they'll
make it good.
QUEEN MARGARETAnd here comes Clifford to deny their bail.125
CLIFFORDHealth and all happiness to my lord the king!
YORKI thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?
Nay, do not fright us with an angry look;
We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again;
For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.130
CLIFFORDThis is my king, York, I do not mistake;
But thou mistakest me much to think I do:
To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?
KING HENRY VIAy, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
Makes him oppose himself against his king.135
CLIFFORDHe is a traitor; let him to the Tower,
And chop away that factious pate of his.
QUEEN MARGARETHe is arrested, but will not obey;
His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
YORKWill you not, sons?140
EDWARDAy, noble father, if our words will serve.
RICHARDAnd if words will not, then our weapons shall.
CLIFFORDWhy, what a brood of traitors have we here!
YORKLook in a glass, and call thy image so:
I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.145
Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
That with the very shaking of their chains
They may astonish these fell-lurking curs:
Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.
CLIFFORDAre these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death.150
And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
If thou darest bring them to the baiting place.
RICHARDOft have I seen a hot o'erweening cur
Run back and bite, because he was withheld;
Who, being suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,155
Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs and cried:
And such a piece of service will you do,
If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
CLIFFORDHence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!160
YORKNay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
CLIFFORDTake heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.
KING HENRY VIWhy, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?
Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!165
What, wilt thou on thy death-bed play the ruffian,
And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
If it be banish'd from the frosty head,
Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?170
Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
And shame thine honourable age with blood?
Why art thou old, and want'st experience?
Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me175
That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
SALISBURYMy lord, I have consider'd with myself
The title of this most renowned duke;
And in my conscience do repute his grace
The rightful heir to England's royal seat.180
KING HENRY VIHast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
KING HENRY VICanst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
SALISBURYIt is great sin to swear unto a sin,
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.185
Who can be bound by any solemn vow
To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
To wring the widow from her custom'd right,190
And have no other reason for this wrong
But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
QUEEN MARGARETA subtle traitor needs no sophister.
KING HENRY VICall Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
YORKCall Buckingham, and all the friends thou hast,195
I am resolved for death or dignity.
CLIFFORDThe first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.
WARWICKYou were best to go to bed and dream again,
To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
CLIFFORDI am resolved to bear a greater storm200
Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
And that I'll write upon thy burgonet,
Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
WARWICKNow, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,
The rampant bear chain'd to the ragged staff,205
This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,
As on a mountain top the cedar shows
That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,
Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
CLIFFORDAnd from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear210
And tread it under foot with all contempt,
Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear.
YOUNG CLIFFORDAnd so to arms, victorious father,
To quell the rebels and their complices.
RICHARDFie! charity, for shame! speak not in spite,215
For you shall sup with Jesu Christ to-night.
YOUNG CLIFFORDFoul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell.
RICHARDIf not in heaven, you'll surely sup in hell.
[Exeunt severally]

Continue to 2 Henry VI, Act 5, Scene 2


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