|ACT II SCENE II
Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET,
PRINCE EDWARD, CLIFFORD, and NORTHUMBERLAND, with
drum and trumpets
|Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of York.
|Yonder's the head of that arch-enemy
|That sought to be encompass'd with your crown:
|Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?
|KING HENRY VI
|Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wreck:
|To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
|Withhold revenge, dear God! 'tis not my fault,
|Nor wittingly have I infringed my vow.
|My gracious liege, this too much lenity
|And harmful pity must be laid aside.
|To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
|Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
|Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick?
|Not his that spoils her young before her face.
|Who 'scapes the lurking serpent's mortal sting?
|Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
|The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
|And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
|Ambitious York doth level at thy crown,
|Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows:
|He, but a duke, would have his son a king,
|And raise his issue, like a loving sire;
|Thou, being a king, blest with a goodly son,
|Didst yield consent to disinherit him,
|Which argued thee a most unloving father.
|Unreasonable creatures feed their young;
|And though man's face be fearful to their eyes,
|Yet, in protection of their tender ones,
|Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
|Which sometime they have used with fearful flight,
|Make war with him that climb'd unto their nest,
|Offer their own lives in their young's defence?
|For shame, my liege, make them your precedent!
|Were it not pity that this goodly boy
|Should lose his birthright by his father's fault,
|And long hereafter say unto his child,
|'What my great-grandfather and his grandsire got
|My careless father fondly gave away'?
|Ah, what a shame were this! Look on the boy;
|And let his manly face, which promiseth
|Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart
|To hold thine own and leave thine own with him.
|KING HENRY VI
|Full well hath Clifford play'd the orator,
|Inferring arguments of mighty force.
|But, Clifford, tell me, didst thou never hear
|That things ill-got had ever bad success?
|And happy always was it for that son
|Whose father for his hoarding went to hell?
|I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
|And would my father had left me no more!
|For all the rest is held at such a rate
|As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep
|Than in possession and jot of pleasure.
|Ah, cousin York! would thy best friends did know
|How it doth grieve me that thy head is here!
|My lord, cheer up your spirits: our foes are nigh,
|And this soft courage makes your followers faint.
|You promised knighthood to our forward son:
|Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently.
|Edward, kneel down.
|KING HENRY VI
|Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight;
|And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right.
|My gracious father, by your kingly leave,
|I'll draw it as apparent to the crown,
|And in that quarrel use it to the death.
|Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.
|[Enter a Messenger]
|Royal commanders, be in readiness:
|For with a band of thirty thousand men
|Comes Warwick, backing of the Duke of York;
|And in the towns, as they do march along,
|Proclaims him king, and many fly to him:
|Darraign your battle, for they are at hand.
|I would your highness would depart the field:
|The queen hath best success when you are absent.
|Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.
|KING HENRY VI
|Why, that's my fortune too; therefore I'll stay.
|Be it with resolution then to fight.
|My royal father, cheer these noble lords
|And hearten those that fight in your defence:
|Unsheathe your sword, good father; cry 'Saint George!'
March. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD, WARWICK,
NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, and Soldiers
|Now, perjured Henry! wilt thou kneel for grace,
|And set thy diadem upon my head;
|Or bide the mortal fortune of the field?
|Go, rate thy minions, proud insulting boy!
|Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms
|Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?
|I am his king, and he should bow his knee;
|I was adopted heir by his consent:
|Since when, his oath is broke; for, as I hear,
|You, that are king, though he do wear the crown,
|Have caused him, by new act of parliament,
|To blot out me, and put his own son in.
|And reason too:
|Who should succeed the father but the son?
|Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak!
|Ay, crook-back, here I stand to answer thee,
|Or any he the proudest of thy sort.
|'Twas you that kill'd young Rutland, was it not?
|Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.
|For God's sake, lords, give signal to the fight.
|What say'st thou, Henry, wilt thou yield the crown?
|Why, how now, long-tongued Warwick! dare you speak?
|When you and I met at Saint Alban's last,
|Your legs did better service than your hands.
|Then 'twas my turn to fly, and now 'tis thine.
|You said so much before, and yet you fled.
|'Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.
|No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.
|Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.
|Break off the parley; for scarce I can refrain
|The execution of my big-swoln heart
|Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.
|I slew thy father, call'st thou him a child?
|Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward,
|As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland;
|But ere sunset I'll make thee curse the deed.
|KING HENRY VI
|Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.
|Defy them then, or else hold close thy lips.
|KING HENRY VI
|I prithee, give no limits to my tongue:
|I am a king, and privileged to speak.
|My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
|Cannot be cured by words; therefore be still.
|Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword:
|By him that made us all, I am resolved
|that Clifford's manhood lies upon his tongue.
|Say, Henry, shall I have my right, or no?
|A thousand men have broke their fasts to-day,
|That ne'er shall dine unless thou yield the crown.
|If thou deny, their blood upon thy head;
|For York in justice puts his armour on.
|If that be right which Warwick says is right,
|There is no wrong, but every thing is right.
|Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands;
|For, well I wot, thou hast thy mother's tongue.
|But thou art neither like thy sire nor dam;
|But like a foul mis-shapen stigmatic,
|Mark'd by the destinies to be avoided,
|As venom toads, or lizards' dreadful stings.
|Iron of Naples hid with English gilt,
|Whose father bears the title of a king,--
|As if a channel should be call'd the sea,--
|Shamest thou not, knowing whence thou art extraught,
|To let thy tongue detect thy base-born heart?
|A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns,
|To make this shameless callet know herself.
|Helen of Greece was fairer far than thou,
|Although thy husband may be Menelaus;
|And ne'er was Agamemnon's brother wrong'd
|By that false woman, as this king by thee.
|His father revell'd in the heart of France,
|And tamed the king, and made the dauphin stoop;
|And had he match'd according to his state,
|He might have kept that glory to this day;
|But when he took a beggar to his bed,
|And graced thy poor sire with his bridal-day,
|Even then that sunshine brew'd a shower for him,
|That wash'd his father's fortunes forth of France,
|And heap'd sedition on his crown at home.
|For what hath broach'd this tumult but thy pride?
|Hadst thou been meek, our title still had slept;
|And we, in pity of the gentle king,
|Had slipp'd our claim until another age.
|But when we saw our sunshine made thy spring,
|And that thy summer bred us no increase,
|We set the axe to thy usurping root;
|And though the edge hath something hit ourselves,
|Yet, know thou, since we have begun to strike,
|We'll never leave till we have hewn thee down,
|Or bathed thy growing with our heated bloods.
|And, in this resolution, I defy thee;
|Not willing any longer conference,
|Since thou deniest the gentle king to speak.
|Sound trumpets! let our bloody colours wave!
|And either victory, or else a grave.
|No, wrangling woman, we'll no longer stay:
|These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.