Page images

Which sounded like a cannon in a vault,
That might not be distinguish'd; but, at last,
I well might hear deliver'd with a groan,-
O, farewell, Warwick!

War. Sweet rest to his soul!


Fly, lords, and save yourselves; for Warwick bids
You all farewell, to meet again in heaven.
Oxf. Away, away, to meet the queen's great power!
[Exeunt, bearing off WARWICK's body.

SCENE III-Another part of the Field.

Flourish.-Enter KING EDWARD in triumph; with CLARENCE,
GLOSTER, and the rest.

K. Edw. Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course,
And we are graced with wreaths of victory.
But, in the midst of this bright-shining day,
I spy a black, suspicious, threat'ning cloud,
That will encounter with our glorious sun,
Ere he attain his easeful western bed:

I mean, my lords, those powers, that the queen
Hath raised in Gallia, have arrived our coast,
And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.

Clar. A little gale will soon disperse that cloud,
And blow it to the source from whence it came:
Thy very beams will dry those vapours up;
For every cloud engenders not a storm.

Glo. The queen is valued thirty thousand strong,
And Somerset, with Oxford, fled to her;
If she have time to breathe, be well assured,
Her faction will be full as strong as ours.

K. Edw. We are advértised by our loving friends,
That they do hold their course toward Tewksbury;
We having now the best at Barnet field,
Will thither straight, for willingness rids way;
And, as we march, our strength will be augmented,
In every county as we go along.--

Strike up the drum; cry-Courage! and away.


SCENE IV-Plains near Tewksbury.

SOMERSET, OXFORD, and Soldiers.

Q. Mar. 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,

[ocr errors]

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 top-mast; 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 a 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,
In 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.

Prince. 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.

Orf. 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!

Som. 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.

Q. Mar. Thanks, gentle Somerset ;-sweet Oxford, thanks. Prince. And take his thanks, that yet hath nothing else.




Mess. Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand. Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.

Oxf. I thought no less: it is his policy, To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.

Som. But he's deceived, we are in readiness.

Q. Mar. This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.
Oxf. Here pitch our battle, hence we will not budge.

March.-Enter at a distance, KING EDWARD, CLARENCE,
GLOSTER, and Forces.

K. Edw. 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.

Q. Mar. 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 slaughterhouse, 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.

[Exeunt both Armies.

SCENE V-Another part of the same.

Alarums: Excursions: and afterwards a Retreat. Then Enter

K. Edw. Now, here a period of tumultuous broils.
Away with Oxford to Hammes' castle straight:
For Somerset, off with his guilty head.
Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.
Oxf. For my part, I will not trouble thee with words.
Som. Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.
[Exeunt OXFORD and SOMERSET, guarded.
Q. Mar. So part we sadly in this troublous world,
To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.

K. Edw. Is proclamation made, that, who finds Edward, Shall have a high reward, and he his life?

Glo. It is: and, lo, where youthful Edward comes.

Enter Soldiers with PRINCE EDWARD.

K. Edw. Bring forth the gallant, let us hear him speak: What! can so young a thorn begin to prick?

* Know.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make,
For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects,
And all the trouble thou hast turn'd me to?

Prince. Speak like a subject, proud ambitious York!
Suppose, that I am now my father's mouth;
Resign thy chair, and, where I stand, kneel thou,
Whilst I propose the self-same words to thee,
Which, traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.

Q. Mar. Ah, that thy father had been so resolved!
Glo. That you might still have worn the petticoat,
And ne'er have stol'n the breech from Lancaster.

Prince. Let Esop* fable in a winter's night:
His currish riddles sort not with this place.

Glo. By heaven, brat, I'll plague you for that word.
Q. Mar. Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.
Glo. For God's sake, take away this captive scold.
Prince. Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather.
K. Edw. Peace, wilful boy, or I will charnt your tongue.
Clar. Untutor'd lad, thou art too malapert.

Prince. I know my duty, you are all undutiful:
Lascivious Edward,-and thou perjured George,-
And thou misshapen Dick,-I tell you all,

I am your better, traitors as ye are ;-
And thou usurp'st my father's right and mine.

K. Edw. Take that, the likeness of this railer here. [Stabs him.
Glo. Sprawl'st thou ? take that, to end thy agony.

[GLOSTER stabs him.

Clar. And there's for twitting me with perjury.

Q. Mar. O, kill me too!
Glo. Marry, and shall.

[CLARENCE stabs him.

[Offers to kill her.

K. Edw. Hold, Richard, hold, for we have done too much.
Glo. Why should she live, to fill the world with words ? +
K. Edw. What! doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.
Glo. Clarence, excuse me to the king, my brother;

I'll hence to London on a serious matter:

Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.

Clar. What? what?

Glo. The Tower, the Tower!

Q. Mar. O, Ned, sweet Ned! speak to thy mother, boy!
Canst thou not speak ?-O traitors, murderers!-
They, that stabb'd Cæsar, shed no blood at all,
Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame,
If this foul deed were by, to equal it.

He was a man; this, in respect, a child;
And men ne'er spend their fury on a child.
What's worse than murderer, that I may name it?
No, no; my heart will burst, an if I speak :-
And I will speak, that so my heart may burst.


*The Prince calls Richard, for his crookedness, Æsop.
+ Compel you to be as silent as though you were enchanted.
Dispute, contention.

Butchers and villains, bloody cannibals;
How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp'd!
You have no children, butchers! if you had,
The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse:
But, if you ever chance to have a child,
Look in his youth to have him so cut off,

As, deathsmen! you have rid this sweet young prince!
K. Edw. Away with her; go, bear her hence perforce.
Q. Mar. Nay, never bear me hence, despatch me here;
Here sheath thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death:
What! wilt thou not ?-then, Clarence, do it thou.

Clar. By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease. Q. Mar. Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it. Clar. Didst thou not hear me swear, I would not do it. Q. Mar. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself: "Twas sin before, but now 'tis charity. What! wilt thou not? where is that devil's butcher, Hard favour'd Richard? Richard, where art thou? Thou art not here: Murder is thy alms-deed; Petitioners for blood thou ne'er put'st back.

K. Edw. Away, I say; I charge ye, bear her hence. Q. Mar. So come to you and yours, as to this prince! [Exit, led out forcibly.

K. Edw. Where's Richard gone?
Clar. To London, all in post; and, as I guess,
To make a bloody supper in the Tower.

K. Edw. He's sudden, if a thing comes in his head.
Now march we hence; discharge the common sort
With pay and thanks, and let's away to London,
And see our gentle queen how well she fares
By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.

SCENE VI.-London.

A Room in the Tower.

KING HENRY is discovered sitting with a book in his hand, the Lieutenant attending. Enter GLOSTER.

K. Hen. So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf:
So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece,
And next his throat unto the butcher's knife.-
What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?

Glo. Good day, my lord! What, at your book so hard? K. Hen. Ay, my good lord: my lord I should say rather; "Tis sin to flatter, good was little better: Good Gloster, and good devil, were alike, And both preposterous; therefore, not good lord. Glo. Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer. [Exit Lieutenant.

Glo. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

K. Hen. The bird that hath been limed in a bush,

*She alludes to the desertion of Clarence.


« PreviousContinue »