« PreviousContinue »
• York. Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute; I mean to take possession of my right.
War. Neither the king, nor he that loves him best, • The proudest he that holds up Lancaster, Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells. • I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares.Resolve thee, Richard ; claim the English crown.
[WARWICK leads York to the throne,
who seats himself.
Flourish. Enter King HENRY, CLIFFORD, NORTHUM
BERLAND, WESTMORELAND, EXETER, and others, with red roses in their hats.
K. Hen. My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits, Even in the chair of state ! Belike, he means (Backed by the power of Warwick, that false peer) To aspire unto the crown, and reign as king.– Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father ;And thine, lord Clifford ; and you both have vowed
revenge On him, his sons, his favorites, and his friends.
North. If I be not, Heavens, be revenged on me! Clif. The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in
steel. West. What, shall we suffer this ? Let's pluck him
down; My heart for anger burns ; I cannot brook it. K. Hen. Be patient, gentle earl of Westmoreland.
Clif. Patience is for poltroons, and such as he ;
North. Well hast thou spoken, cousin; be it so.
K. Hen. Ah, know you not the city favors them, And they have troops of soldiers at their beck ?
Exe. "But when the duke is slain, they'll quickly fly. K. Hen. Far be the thought of this from Henry's
1 Hawks had sometimes little bells hung on them, perhaps to dare the birds ; that is, to fright them from rising.
[They advance to the Duke.
Thou art deceived; I am thine. Exe. For shame, come down ; he made thee duke
of York. York. 'Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was. Exe. Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
War. Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown, In following this usurping Henry.
Clif. Whom should he follow, but his natural king ? War. True, Clifford ; and that's Richard, duke of
York. · K. Hen. And shall I stand, and thou sit in my
throne ? · York. It must and shall be so. Content thyself. War. Be duke of Lancaster ; let him be king.
West. He is both king and duke of Lancaster; And that the lord of Westmoreland shall maintain.
War. And Warwick shall disprove it. You forget, That we are those, which chased you from the field, And slew your fathers, and with colors spread Marched through the city to the palace gates.
· North. Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief; And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
• West. Plantagenet, of thee, and these thy sons, Thy kinsmen, and thy friends, I'll have more lives, Than drops of blood were in my father's veins.
• Clif. "Urge it no more ; lest that, instead of words,
1 The old play reads “as the kingdom is.” Why Shakspeare altered it, it is not easy to say; for the new line only exhibits the same meaning more obscurely. York means that the dukedom was his inheritance from his father, as the earldom of March was his inheritance from his mother. His title to the crown was not as duke of York, but as earl of March, and by naming that he covertly asserts his right to the crown.
I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger, As shall revenge his death, before I stir. · War. Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worthless
threats! York. Will you, we show our title to the crown? • If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.
K. Hen. What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown? Thy father was, as thou art, duke of York ;? Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, earl of March. I am the son of Henry the Fifth, Who made the dauphin and the French to stoop, And seized upon their towns and provinces.
War. Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.
K. Hen. The lord protector lost it, and not I; When I was crowned, I was but nine months old.
Rich. You are old enough now, and yet, methinks,
Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.
head. Mont. Good brother, [To YORK.] as thou lov'st and
honor'st arms, Let's fight it out, and not stand cavilling thus. Rich. Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will
fly. York. Sons, peace! K. Hen. Peace thou ! and give king Henry leave
to speak. War. Plantagenet shall speak first.—Hear him,
lords ; And be you silent and attentive too, For he that interrupts him shall not live. · K. Hen. Think'st thou that I will leave my
kingly throne, Wherein my grandsire and my father sat ? No; first shall war unpeople this my realm; • Ay, and their colors-often borne in France,
1 Another mistake of the author of the old play. York's father was earl of Cambridge, and was beheaded in the lifetime of his elder brother, Edward duke of York.
2 Since. A contraction of sithence.
And now in England, to our heart's great sorrowShall be my winding-sheet.—Why faint you, lords ? • My title's good, and better far than his.
War. But prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king. K. Hen. Henry the Fourth by conquest got the York. 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
K. Hen. I know not what to say; my title's weak. Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir ?
York. What then? · K. Hen. An if he may, then am I lawful king. · For Richard, in the view of many lords, Resigned the crown to Henry the Fourth; Whose heir my father was, and I am his.
York. He rose against him, being his sovereign, And made him to resign his crown perforce.
War. Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrained, Think you 'twere prejudicial to his crown ? 1
Exe. No; for he could not so resign his crown,
K. Hen. Art thou against us, duke of Exeter ?
not? Exe. My conscience tells me he is lawful king. K. Hen. All will revolt from me, and turn to him. North. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay'st hink not, that Henry shall be so deposed. · War. Deposed he shall be, in despite of all. North. Thou art deceived. 'Tis not thy southern
Clif. King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
1 i. e. detrimental to the general rights of hereditary royalty.
· K. Hen. O, Clifford, how thy words revive my
War. Do right unto this princely duke of York ;
[He stamps, and the Soldiers show themselves. · K. Hen. My lord of Warwick, hear me but one
• Let me, for this my lifetime reign as king.
York. Confirm the crown to me, and to mine heirs, And thou shalt reign in quiet whilst thou liv'st.
K. Hen. I am content. Richard Plantagenet,
. What wrong is this unto the prince your son ! War. What good is this to England, and himself! West. Base, fearful and despairing Henry!
Clif. How hast thou injured both thyself and us! West. I cannot stay to hear these articles. North. Nor I. Clif. Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these
* West. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king, * In whose cold blood no spark of honor bides.
North. Be thou a prey unto the house of York, • And die in bands for this unmanly deed!
Clif. In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome! Or live in peace, abandoned, and despised !
[Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, CLIFFORD,
and WESTMORELAND. * War. Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not. Exe. They seek revenge, and therefore will not
yield. K. Hen. Ah, Exeter! War.
Why should you sigh, my lord ? K. Hen. Not for myself, lord Warwick, but my
son, Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.