|ACT I SCENE IV
|Another part of the field.
|[Alarum. Enter YORK]
|The army of the queen hath got the field:
|My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
|And all my followers to the eager foe
|Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind
|Or lambs pursued by hunger-starved wolves.
|My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them:
|But this I know, they have demean'd themselves
|Like men born to renown by life or death.
|Three times did Richard make a lane to me.
|And thrice cried 'Courage, father! fight it out!'
|And full as oft came Edward to my side,
|With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
|In blood of those that had encounter'd him:
|And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
|Richard cried 'Charge! and give no foot of ground!'
|And cried 'A crown, or else a glorious tomb!
|A sceptre, or an earthly sepulchre!'
|With this, we charged again: but, out, alas!
|We bodged again; as I have seen a swan
|With bootless labour swim against the tide
|And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
|[A short alarum within]
|Ah, hark! the fatal followers do pursue;
|And I am faint and cannot fly their fury:
|And were I strong, I would not shun their fury:
|The sands are number'd that make up my life;
|Here must I stay, and here my life must end.
Enter QUEEN MARGARET, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND,
PRINCE EDWARD, and Soldiers
|Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland,
|I dare your quenchless fury to more rage:
|I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
|Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
|Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm,
|With downright payment, show'd unto my father.
|Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car,
|And made an evening at the noontide prick.
|My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth
|A bird that will revenge upon you all:
|And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
|Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with.
|Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?
|So cowards fight when they can fly no further;
|So doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons;
|So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
|Breathe out invectives 'gainst the officers.
|O Clifford, but bethink thee once again,
|And in thy thought o'er-run my former time;
|And, if though canst for blushing, view this face,
|And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with cowardice
|Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this!
|I will not bandy with thee word for word,
|But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one.
|Hold, valiant Clifford! for a thousand causes
|I would prolong awhile the traitor's life.
|Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northumberland.
|Hold, Clifford! do not honour him so much
|To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart:
|What valour were it, when a cur doth grin,
|For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
|When he might spurn him with his foot away?
|It is war's prize to take all vantages;
|And ten to one is no impeach of valour.
|[They lay hands on YORK, who struggles]
|Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.
|So doth the cony struggle in the net.
|So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty;
|So true men yield, with robbers so o'ermatch'd.
|What would your grace have done unto him now?
|Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
|Come, make him stand upon this molehill here,
|That raught at mountains with outstretched arms,
|Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
|What! was it you that would be England's king?
|Was't you that revell'd in our parliament,
|And made a preachment of your high descent?
|Where are your mess of sons to back you now?
|The wanton Edward, and the lusty George?
|And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy,
|Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice
|Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
|Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
|Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood
|That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point,
|Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
|And if thine eyes can water for his death,
|I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
|Alas poor York! but that I hate thee deadly,
|I should lament thy miserable state.
|I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York.
|What, hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails
|That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death?
|Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad;
|And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
|Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
|Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport:
|York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown.
|A crown for York! and, lords, bow low to him:
|Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.
|[Putting a paper crown on his head]
|Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king!
|Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair,
|And this is he was his adopted heir.
|But how is it that great Plantagenet
|Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath?
|As I bethink me, you should not be king
|Till our King Henry had shook hands with death.
|And will you pale your head in Henry's glory,
|And rob his temples of the diadem,
|Now in his life, against your holy oath?
|O, 'tis a fault too too unpardonable!
|Off with the crown, and with the crown his head;
|And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.
|That is my office, for my father's sake.
|Nay, stay; lets hear the orisons he makes.
|She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,
|Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth!
|How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex
|To triumph, like an Amazonian trull,
|Upon their woes whom fortune captivates!
|But that thy face is, vizard-like, unchanging,
|Made impudent with use of evil deeds,
|I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush.
|To tell thee whence thou camest, of whom derived,
|Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless.
|Thy father bears the type of King of Naples,
|Of both the Sicils and Jerusalem,
|Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
|Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
|It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen,
|Unless the adage must be verified,
|That beggars mounted run their horse to death.
|'Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud;
|But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small:
|'Tis virtue that doth make them most admired;
|The contrary doth make thee wonder'd at:
|'Tis government that makes them seem divine;
|The want thereof makes thee abominable:
|Thou art as opposite to every good
|As the Antipodes are unto us,
|Or as the south to the septentrion.
|O tiger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide!
|How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child,
|To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
|And yet be seen to bear a woman's face?
|Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible;
|Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
|Bids't thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish:
|Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will:
|For raging wind blows up incessant showers,
|And when the rage allays, the rain begins.
|These tears are my sweet Rutland's obsequies:
|And every drop cries vengeance for his death,
|'Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false
|Beshrew me, but his passion moves me so
|That hardly can I cheque my eyes from tears.
|That face of his the hungry cannibals
|Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood:
|But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
|O, ten times more, than tigers of Hyrcania.
|See, ruthless queen, a hapless father's tears:
|This cloth thou dip'dst in blood of my sweet boy,
|And I with tears do wash the blood away.
|Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:
|And if thou tell'st the heavy story right,
|Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;
|Yea even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
|And say 'Alas, it was a piteous deed!'
|There, take the crown, and, with the crown, my curse;
|And in thy need such comfort come to thee
|As now I reap at thy too cruel hand!
|Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world:
|My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads!
|Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin,
|I should not for my life but weep with him.
|To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.
|What, weeping-ripe, my Lord Northumberland?
|Think but upon the wrong he did us all,
|And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.
|Here's for my oath, here's for my father's death.
|And here's to right our gentle-hearted king.
|Open Thy gate of mercy, gracious God!
|My soul flies through these wounds to seek out Thee.
|Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
|So York may overlook the town of York.