SCENE I. A Forest in the North of England.
[Enter two Keepers, with crossbows in their hands.]
Under this thick-grown brake we'll shroud ourselves,
For through this laund anon the deer will come;
And in this covert will we make our stand,
Culling the principal of all the deer.
I'll stay above the hill, so both may shoot.
That cannot be; the noise of thy crossbow
Will scare the herd, and so my shoot is lost.
Here stand we both, and aim we at the best;
And, for the time shall not seem tedious,
I'll tell thee what befell me on a day
In this self place where now we mean to stand.
Here comes a man; let's stay till he be past.
[Enter KING HENRY, disguised, with a prayer-book.]
From Scotland am I stolen, even of pure love,
To greet mine own land with my wishful sight.
No, Harry, Harry, 't is no land of thine;
Thy place is fill'd, thy sceptre wrung from thee,
Thy balm wash'd off wherewith thou wast anointed.
No bending knee will call thee Caesar now,
No humble suitors press to speak for right;
No, not a man comes for redress of thee,
For how can I help them, and not myself?
Ay, here's a deer whose skin's a keeper's fee.
This is the quondam king; let's seize upon him.
Let me embrace thee, sour adversity;
For wise men say it is the wisest course.
Why linger we? let us lay hands upon him.
Forbear awhile; we'll hear a little more.
My queen and son are gone to France for aid;
And, as I hear, the great commanding Warwick
Is thither gone to crave the French king's sister
To wife for Edward. If this news be true,
Poor queen and son, your labour is but lost,
For Warwick is a subtle orator,
And Lewis a prince soon won with moving words.
By this account then Margaret may win him,
For she's a woman to be pitied much.
Her sighs will make a batt'ry in his breast,
Her tears will pierce into a marble heart;
The tiger will be mild whiles she doth mourn,
And Nero will be tainted with remorse
To hear and see her plaints, her brinish tears.
Ay, but she's come to beg, Warwick to give;
She on his left side craving aid for Henry,
He on his right asking a wife for Edward.
She weeps and says her Henry is depos'd,
He smiles and says his Edward is install'd;
That she, poor wretch, for grief can speak no more;
Whiles Warwick tells his title, smooths the wrong,
Inferreth arguments of mighty strength,
And, in conclusion, wins the king from her,
With promise of his sister, and what else,
To strengthen and support King Edward's place.
O Margaret, thus 't will be! and thou, poor soul,
Art then forsaken, as thou went'st forlorn!
Say, what art thou, that talk'st of kings and queens?
More than I seem, and less than I was born to;
A man at least, for less I should not be;
And men may talk of kings, and why not I?
Ay, but thou talk'st as if thou wert a king.
Why, so I am, in mind; and that's enough.
But, if thou be a king, where is thy crown?
My crown is in my heart, not on my head,
Not deck'd with diamonds and Indian stones,
Not to be seen; my crown is call'd content,
A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.
Well, if you be a king crown'd with content,
Your crown content and you must be contented
To go along with us; for, as we think,
You are the king King Edward hath depos'd,
And we his subjects, sworn in all allegiance,
Will apprehend you as his enemy.
But did you never swear, and break an oath?
No, never such an oath; nor will not now.
Where did you dwell when I was King of England?
Here in this country, where we now remain.
I was anointed king at nine months old,
My father and my grandfather were kings,
And you were sworn true subjects unto me;
And tell me, then, have you not broke your oaths?
For we were subjects but while you were king.
Why, am I dead? do I not breathe, a man?
Ah, simple men! you know not what you swear.
Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
Obeying with my wind when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater gust,
Such is the lightness of you common men.
But do not break your oaths; for of that sin
My mild entreaty shall not make you guilty.
Go where you will, the king shall be commanded;
And be you kings, command, and I'll obey.
We are true subjects to the king,--King Edward.
So would you be again to Henry
If he were seated as King Edward is.
We charge you, in God's name and the king's
To go with us unto the officers.
In God's name lead; your king's name be obey'd;
And what God will, that let your king perform;
And what he will, I humbly yield unto.
SCENE II. The palace.
[Enter KING EDWARD, GLOSTER, CLARENCE, and LADY GREY.]
Brother of Gloster, at Saint Alban's field
This lady's husband, Sir John Grey, was slain,
His land then seiz'd on by the conqueror;
Her suit is now to repossess those lands,
Which we in justice cannot well deny,
Because in quarrel of the house of York
The worthy gentleman did lose his life.
Your highness shall do well to grant her suit;
It were dishonour to deny it her.
It were no less; but yet I'll make a pause.
[Aside to Clarence.] Yea; is it so?
I see the lady hath a thing to grant
Before the king will grant her humble suit.
[Aside to Gloster.] He knows the game;
how true he keeps the wind!
[Aside to Clarence.] Silence!
Widow, we will consider of your suit,
And come some other time to know our mind.
Right gracious lord, I cannot brook delay;
May it please your highness to resolve me now,
And what your pleasure is shall satisfy me.
[Aside to Clarence.] Ay, widow?
then I'll warrant you all your lands,
An if what pleases him shall pleasure you.
Fight closer, or, good faith, you'll catch a blow.
[Aside to Gloster.] I fear her not, unless she chance
[Aside to CLARENCE.] God forbid that, for he'll take
How many children hast thou, widow? tell me.
[Aside to Gloster.] I think he means to beg a child of
[Aside to Clarence.] Nay, whip me then; he'll rather
give her two.
Three, my most gracious lord.
[Aside to Clarence.] You shall have four if you'll be
rul'd by him.
'T were pity they should lose their father's lands.
Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it then.
Lords, give us leave; I'll try this widow's wit.
[Aside to Clarence.] Ay, good leave have you;
for you will have leave
Till youth take leave and leave you to the crutch.
[Gloster and Clarence stand apart.]
Now tell me, madam, do you love your children?
Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.
And would you not do much to do them good?
To do them good I would sustain some harm.
Then get your husband's lands to do them good.
Therefore I came unto your majesty.
I'll tell you how these lands are to be got.
So shall you bind me to your highness' service.
What service wilt thou do me if I give them?
What you command that rests in me to do.
But you will take exceptions to my boon.
No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.
Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to ask.
Why, then, I will do what your grace commands.
He plies her hard; and much rain wears the marble.
As red as fire! nay, then her wax must melt.
Why stops my lord? shall I not hear my task?
An easy task; 't is but to love a king.
That's soon perform'd, because I am a subject.
Why, then, thy husband's lands I freely give thee.
I take my leave with many thousand thanks.
The match is made; she seals it with a curtsy.
But stay thee; 't is the fruits of love I mean.
The fruits of love I mean, my loving liege.
Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense.
What love, thinkst thou, I sue so much to get?
My love till death, my humble thanks, my prayers;
That love which virtue begs, and virtue grants.
No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.
Why, then, you mean not as I thought you did.
But now you partly may perceive my mind.
My mind will never grant what I perceive
Your Highness aims at, if I aim aright.
To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.
To tell you plain, I had rather lie in prison.
Why, then thou shalt not have thy husband's lands.
Why, then mine honesty shall be my dower,
For by that loss I will not purchase them.
Therein thou wrong'st thy children mightily.
Herein your highness wrongs both them and me.
But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
Accords not with the sadness of my suit;
Please you dismiss me either with ay or no.
Ay, if thou wilt say ay to my request.
No, if thou dost say no to my demand.
Then no, my lord. My suit is at an end.
The widow likes him not, she knits her brows.
He is the bluntest wooer in Christendom.
[Aside.] Her looks doth argue her replete with
Her words doth show her wit incomparable,
All her perfections challenge sovereignty;
One way or other she is for a king,
And she shall be my love, or else my queen.--
Say that King Edward take thee for his queen?
'T is better said than done, my gracious lord;
I am a subject fit to jest withal,
But far unfit to be a sovereign.
Sweet widow, by my state I swear to thee,
I speak no more than what my soul intends;
And that is to enjoy thee for my love.
And that is more than I will yield unto.
I know I am too mean to be your queen,
And yet too good to be your concubine.
You cavil, widow; I did mean my queen.
'T will grieve your grace my sons should call you
No more than when my daughters call thee mother.
Thou art a widow, and thou hast some children;
And, by God's mother, I, being but a bachelor,
Have other some; why, 't is a happy thing
To be the father unto many sons.
Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.
The ghostly father now hath done his shrift.
When he was made a shriver, 't was for shift.
Brothers, you muse what chat we two have had.
[Gloster and Clarence come forward.]
The widow likes it not, for she looks very sad.
You'd think it strange if I should marry her.
To whom, my lord?
Why, Clarence, to myself.
That would be ten days' wonder, at the least.
That's a day longer than a wonder lasts.
By so much is the wonder in extremes.
Well, jest on, brothers; I can tell you both,
Her suit is granted for her husband's lands.
[Enter a Nobleman.]
My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken,
And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.
See that he be convey'd unto the Tower.--
And go we, brothers, to the man that took him,
To question of his apprehension.--
Widow, go you along.--Lords, use her honourably.
[Exeunt King Edward, Lady Grey, Clarence, and Nobleman.]
Ay, Edward will use women honourably.
Would he were wasted, marrow, bones, and all,
That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring,
To cross me from the golden time I look for!
And yet, between my soul's desire and me--
The lustful Edward's title buried--
Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,
And all the unlook'd-for issue of their bodies,
To take their rooms ere I can place myself;
A cold premeditation for my purpose!
Why, then I do but dream on sovereignty,
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
Saying, he'll lade it dry to have his way.
So do I wish the crown, being so far off,
And so I chide the means that keeps me from it;
And so I say I'll cut the causes off,
Flattering me with impossibilities.--
My eye's too quick, my heart o'erweens too much,
Unless my hand and strength could equal them.
Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard,
What other pleasure can the world afford?
I'll make my heaven in a lady's lap,
And deck my body in gay ornaments,
And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
O miserable thought! and more unlikely
Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns.
Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb;
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick'd bear-whelp
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belov'd?
O, monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought!
Then, since this earth affords no joy to me
But to command, to check, to o'erbear such
As are of better person than myself,
I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell
Until my mis-shap'd trunk that bear this head
Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
And yet I know not how to get the crown,
For many lives stand between me and home,
And I, like one lost in a thorny wood,
That rends the thorns, and is rent with the thorns,
Seeking a way, and straying from the way,
Not knowing how to find the open air,
But toiling desperately to find it out,
Torment myself to catch the English crown;
And from that torment I will free myself,
Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murther while I smile,
And cry 'Content!' to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall,
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slyly than Ulysses could,
And like a Sinon take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Protheus for advantages,
And set the murtherous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down.
SCENE III. France. The King's Palace.
[Flourish. Enter LEWIS, the French King, and LADY BONA, attended:
the King takes his state. Then enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE
EDWARD, and the EARL OF OXFORD; LEWIS rising as she enters.]
Fair Queen of England, worthy Margaret,
Sit down with us; it ill befits thy state
And birth that thou shouldst stand while Lewis doth sit.
No, mighty King of France; now Margaret
Must strike her sail and learn a while to serve
Where kings command. I was, I must confess,
Great Albion's queen in former golden days;
But now mischance hath trod my title down
And with dishonour laid me on the ground,
Where I must take like seat unto my fortune,
And to my humble seat conform myself.
Why, say, fair queen, whence springs this deep
From such a cause as fills mine eyes with tears
And stops my tongue, while heart is drown'd in cares.
Whate'er it be, be thou still like thyself,
And sit thee by our side; yield not thy neck
[Seats her by him.]
To fortune's yoke, but let thy dauntless mind
Still ride in triumph over all mischance.
Be plain, Queen Margaret, and tell thy grief;
It shall be eas'd if France can yield relief.
Those gracious words revive my drooping
And give my tongue-tied sorrows leave to speak.
Now, therefore, be it known to noble Lewis
That Henry, sole possessor of my love,
Is of a king become a banish'd man
And forc'd to live in Scotland a forlorn,
While proud ambitious Edward, Duke of York,
Usurps the regal title and the seat
Of England's true-anointed lawful king.
This is the cause that I, poor Margaret,
With this my son, Prince Edward, Henry's heir,
Am come to crave thy just and lawful aid;
And if thou fail us, all our hope is done.
Scotland hath will to help, but cannot help;
Our people and our peers are both misled,
Our treasure seiz'd, our soldiers put to flight,
And, as thou seest, ourselves in heavy plight.
Renowned queen, with patience calm the storm
While we bethink a means to break it off.
The more we stay, the stronger grows our foe.
The more I stay, the more I'll succour thee.
O, but impatience waiteth on true sorrow!--
And see where comes the breeder of my sorrow.
[Enter WARWICK, attended.]
What's he approacheth boldly to our presence?
Our Earl of Warwick, Edward's greatest friend.
Welcome, brave Warwick. What brings thee to France?
[He descends. Queen Margaret rises.]
Ay, now begins a second storm to rise,
For this is he that moves both wind and tide.
From worthy Edward, king of Albion,
My lord and sovereign, and thy vowed friend,
I come, in kindness and unfeigned love,
First, to do greetings to thy royal person;
And then, to crave a league of amity;
And lastly, to confirm that amity
With nuptial knot, if thou vouchsafe to grant
That virtuous Lady Bona, thy fair sister,
To England's king in lawful marriage.
[Aside.] If that go forward, Henry's hope is
[To BONA.] And, gracious madam, in our king's behalf,
I am commanded, with your leave and favour,
Humbly to kiss your hand, and with my tongue
To tell the passion of my sovereign's heart,
Where fame, late entering at his heedful ears,
Hath plac'd thy beauty's image and thy virtue.
King Lewis,--and Lady Bona,--hear me speak
Before you answer Warwick. His demand
Springs not from Edward's well-meant honest love,
But from deceit, bred by necessity;
For how can tyrants safely govern home
Unless abroad they purchase great alliance?
To prove him tyrant this reason may suffice,--
That Henry liveth still; but were he dead,
Yet here Prince Edward stands, King Henry's son.
Look therefore, Lewis, that by this league and marriage
Thou draw not on thy danger and dishonour;
For though usurpers sway the rule awhile,
Yet heavens are just, and time suppresseth wrongs.
And why not queen?
Because thy father Henry did usurp,
And thou no more art prince than she is queen.
Then Warwick disannuls great John of Gaunt,
Which did subdue the greatest part of Spain;
And, after John of Gaunt, Henry the Fourth,
Whose wisdom was a mirror to the wisest;
And, after that wise prince, Henry the Fifth,
Who by his prowess conquered all France.
From these our Henry lineally descends.
Oxford, how haps it in this smooth discourse,
You told not how Henry the Sixth hath lost
All that which Henry the Fifth had gotten?
Methinks these peers of France should smile at that.
But for the rest, you tell a pedigree
Of threescore and two years,--a silly time
To make prescription for a kingdom's worth.
Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy liege,
Whom thou obeyedst thirty and six years,
And not bewray thy treason with a blush?
Can Oxford, that did ever fence the right,
Now buckler falsehood with a pedigree?
For shame Leave Henry, and call Edward king.
Call him my king by whose injurious doom
My elder brother, the Lord Aubrey Vere,
Was done to death? and more than so, my father,
Even in the downfall of his mellow'd years,
When nature brought him to the door of death?
No, Warwick, no; while life upholds this arm,
This arm upholds the house of Lancaster.
And I the house of York.
Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, and Oxford,
Vouchsafe at our request to stand aside
While I use further conference with Warwick.
Heavens grant that Warwick's words bewitch him
[They stand aloof.]
Now, Warwick, tell me, even upon thy conscience,
Is Edward your true king? for I were loath
To link with him that were not lawful chosen.
Thereon I pawn my credit and mine honour.
But is he gracious in the people's eye?
The more that Henry was unfortunate.
Then further, all dissembling set aside,
Tell me for truth the measure of his love
Unto our sister Bona.
Such it seems
As may beseem a monarch like himself.
Myself have often heard him say and swear
That this his love was an eternal plant,
Whereof the root was fix'd in virtue's ground,
The leaves and fruit maintain'd with beauty's sun,
Exempt from envy, but not from disdain,
Unless the Lady Bona quit his pain.
Now, sister, let us hear your firm resolve.
Your grant or your denial shall be mine.
Yet I confess [to Warwick] that often ere this day,
When I have heard your king's desert recounted,
Mine ear hath tempted judgment to desire.
Then, Warwick, thus: our sister shall be Edward's;
And now forthwith shall articles be drawn
Touching the jointure that your king must make,
Which with her dowry shall be counterpois'd.--
Draw near, Queen Margaret, and be a witness
That Bona shall be wife to the English king.
To Edward, but not to the English king.
Deceitful Warwick! it was thy device
By this alliance to make void my suit.
Before thy coming Lewis was Henry's friend.
And still is friend to him and Margaret;
But if your title to the crown be weak,
As may appear by Edward's good success,
Then 't is but reason that I be releas'd
From giving aid which late I promised.
Yet shall you have all kindness at my hand
That your estate requires and mine can yield.
Henry now lives in Scotland, at his ease,
Where, having nothing, nothing can he lose.
And as for you yourself, our quondam queen,
You have a father able to maintain you,
And better 't were you troubled him than France.
Peace, impudent and shameless Warwick,
Proud setter-up and puller-down of kings!
I will not hence, till, with my talk and tears,
Both full of truth, I make King Lewis behold
Thy sly conveyance and thy lord's false love;
For both of you are birds of selfsame feather.
[A horn sounded within.]
Warwick, this is some post to us or thee.
[Enter the Post.]
My lord ambassador, these letters are for you.
Sent from your brother Marquess Montague.--
These from our king unto your majesty.--
And, madam, these for you, from whom I know not.
[They all read their letters.]
I like it well that our fair queen and mistress
Smiles at her news while Warwick frowns at his.
Nay, mark how Lewis stamps as he were nettled;
I hope all's for the best.
Warwick, what are thy news?--and yours, fair queen?
Mine, such as fill my heart with unhop'd joys.
Mine, full of sorrow and heart's discontent.
What! has your king married the Lady Grey,
And now, to soothe your forgery and his,
Sends me a paper to persuade me patience?
Is this the alliance that he seeks with France?
Dare he presume to scorn us in this manner?
I told your majesty as much before;
This proveth Edward's love and Warwick's honesty.
King Lewis, I here protest, in sight of heaven,
And by the hope I have of heavenly bliss,
That I am clear from this misdeed of Edward's;
No more my king, for he dishonours me,
But most himself, if he could see his shame.
Did I forget that by the house of York
My father came untimely to his death?
Did I let pass the abuse done to my niece?
Did I impale him with the regal crown?
Did I put Henry from his native right?
And am I guerdon'd at the last with shame?
Shame on himself! for my desert is honour;
And to repair my honour lost for him,
I here renounce him and return to Henry.--
My noble queen, let former grudges pass,
And henceforth I am thy true servitor.
I will revenge his wrong to Lady Bona,
And replant Henry in his former state.
Warwick, these words have turn'd my hate to
And I forgive and quite forget old faults,
And joy that thou becom'st King Henry's friend.
So much his friend, ay, his unfeigned friend,
That if King Lewis vouchsafe to furnish us
With some few bands of chosen soldiers,
I'll undertake to land them on our coast
And force the tyrant from his seat by war.
'T is not his new-made bride shall succour him;
And as for Clarence,--as my letters tell me,--
He's very likely now to fall from him,
For matching more for wanton lust than honour,
Or than for strength and safety of our country.
Dear brother, how shall Bona be reveng'd
But by thy help to this distressed queen?
Renowned prince, how shall poor Henry live
Unless thou rescue him from foul despair?
My quarrel and this English queen's are one.
And mine, fair Lady Bona, joins with yours.
And mine with hers, and thine, and Margaret's.
Therefore, at last, I firmly am resolv'd
You shall have aid.
Let me give humble thanks for all at once.
Then, England's messenger, return in post
And tell false Edward, thy supposed king,
That Lewis of France is sending over maskers
To revel it with him and his new bride.
Thou seest what's past; go fear thy king withal.
Tell him, in hope he'll prove a widower shortly,
I'll wear the willow garland for his sake.
Tell him my mourning weeds are laid aside,
And I am ready to put armour on.
Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong,
And therefore I'll uncrown him ere 't be long.
There's thy reward; be gone.
Thou and Oxford, with five thousand men,
Shall cross the seas and bid false Edward battle;
And, as occasion serves, this noble queen
And prince shall follow with a fresh supply.
Yet, ere thou go, but answer me one doubt:
What pledge have we of thy firm loyalty?
This shall assure my constant loyalty,--
That if our queen and this young prince agree,
I'll join mine eldest daughter and my joy
To him forthwith in holy wedlock bands.
Yes, I agree, and thank you for your motion.--
Son Edward, she is fair and virtuous;
Therefore delay not, give thy hand to Warwick,
And with thy hand thy faith irrevocable
That only Warwick's daughter shall be thine.
Yes, I accept her, for she well deserves it;
And here, to pledge my vow, I give my hand.
[He gives his hand to Warwick.]
Why stay we now? These soldiers shall be levied,
And thou, Lord Bourbon, our high admiral,
Shall waft them over with our royal fleet.--
I long till Edward fall by war's mischance
For mocking marriage with a dame of France.
[Exeunt all but Warwick.]
I came from Edward as ambassador,
But I return his sworn and mortal foe;
Matter of marriage was the charge he gave me,
But dreadful war shall answer his demand.
Had he none else to make a stale but me?
Then none but I shall turn his jest to sorrow.
I was the chief that rais'd him to the crown,
And I'll be chief to bring him down again;
Not that I pity Henry's misery,
But seek revenge on Edward's mockery.