|ACT V SCENE IV
|Plains near Tewksbury.
March. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD,
SOMERSET, OXFORD, and soldiers
|Great lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss,
|But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
|What though the mast be now blown overboard,
|The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
|And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood?
|Yet lives our pilot still. Is't meet that he
|Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad
|With tearful eyes add water to the sea
|And give more strength to that which hath too much,
|Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,
|Which industry and courage might have saved?
|Ah, what a shame! ah, what a fault were this!
|Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
|And Montague our topmost; what of him?
|Our slaughter'd friends the tackles; what of these?
|Why, is not Oxford here another anchor?
|And Somerset another goodly mast?
|The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
|And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I
|For once allow'd the skilful pilot's charge?
|We will not from the helm to sit and weep,
|But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,
|From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck.
|As good to chide the waves as speak them fair.
|And what is Edward but ruthless sea?
|What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit?
|And Richard but a ragged fatal rock?
|All these the enemies to our poor bark.
|Say you can swim; alas, 'tis but a while!
|Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink:
|Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off,
|Or else you famish; that's a threefold death.
|This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
|If case some one of you would fly from us,
|That there's no hoped-for mercy with the brothers
|More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks.
|Why, courage then! what cannot be avoided
|'Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
|Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit
|Should, if a coward heard her speak these words,
|Infuse his breast with magnanimity
|And make him, naked, foil a man at arms.
|I speak not this as doubting any here
|For did I but suspect a fearful man
|He should have leave to go away betimes,
|Lest in our need he might infect another
|And make him of like spirit to himself.
|If any such be here--as God forbid!--
|Let him depart before we need his help.
|Women and children of so high a courage,
|And warriors faint! why, 'twere perpetual shame.
|O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
|Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
|To bear his image and renew his glories!
|And he that will not fight for such a hope.
|Go home to bed, and like the owl by day,
|If he arise, be mock'd and wonder'd at.
|Thanks, gentle Somerset; sweet Oxford, thanks.
|And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.
|[Enter a Messenger]
|Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand.
|Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
|I thought no less: it is his policy
|To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
|But he's deceived; we are in readiness.
|This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.
|Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.
Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER,
CLARENCE, and soldiers
|KING EDWARD IV
|Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood,
|Which, by the heavens' assistance and your strength,
|Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
|I need not add more fuel to your fire,
|For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out
|Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!
|Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say
|My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
|Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
|Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your sovereign,
|Is prisoner to the foe; his state usurp'd,
|His realm a slaughter-house, his subjects slain,
|His statutes cancell'd and his treasure spent;
|And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
|You fight in justice: then, in God's name, lords,
|Be valiant and give signal to the fight.
|[Alarum. Retreat. Excursions. Exeunt]