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Henry VI, Pt. 1: Act 2, Scene 5

Henry VI, Pt. 1
Act 2, Scene 5

London. A room in the Tower of London.

  1. Enter Mortimer, brought in a chair, and Keepers.

Edmund Mortimer

2 - 18
  1. Kind keepers of my weak decaying age,
  2. Let dying Mortimer here rest himself.
  3. Even like a man new haled from the rack,
  4. So fare my limbs with long imprisonment;
  5. And these grey locks, the pursuivants of death,
  6. Nestor-like aged, in an age of care,
  7. Argue the end of Edmund Mortimer.
  8. These eyes, like lamps whose wasting oil is spent,
  9. Wax dim, as drawing to their exigent;
  10. Weak shoulders, overborne with burdening grief,
  11. And pithless arms, like to a withered vine
  12. That droops his sapless branches to the ground.
  13. Yet are these feet, whose strengthless stay is numb
  14. (Unable to support this lump of clay),
  15. Swift-winged with desire to get a grave,
  16. As witting I no other comfort have.
  17. But tell me, keeper, will my nephew come?

First Keeper

19 - 21
  1. Richard Plantagenet, my lord, will come.
  2. We sent unto the Temple, unto his chamber,
  3. And answer was return’d that he will come.

Edmund Mortimer

22 - 33
  1. Enough; my soul shall then be satisfied.
  2. Poor gentleman, his wrong doth equal mine.
  3. Since Henry Monmouth first began to reign,
  4. Before whose glory I was great in arms,
  5. This loathsome sequestration have I had;
  6. And even since then hath Richard been obscur’d,
  7. Depriv’d of honor and inheritance.
  8. But now, the arbitrator of despairs,
  9. Just Death, kind umpire of men’s miseries,
  10. With sweet enlargement doth dismiss me hence.
  11. I would his troubles likewise were expir’d,
  12. That so he might recover what was lost.
  1. Enter Richard Plantagenet.

First Keeper

35
  1. My lord, your loving nephew now is come.

Edmund Mortimer

36
  1. Richard Plantagenet, my friend, is he come?

Richard Plantagenet

37 - 38
  1. Ay, noble uncle, thus ignobly us’d,
  2. Your nephew, late-despised Richard, comes.

Edmund Mortimer

39 - 44
  1. Direct mine arms I may embrace his neck,
  2. And in his bosom spend my latter gasp.
  3. O, tell me when my lips do touch his cheeks,
  4. That I may kindly give one fainting kiss.
  5. And now declare, sweet stem from York’s great stock,
  6. Why didst thou say, of late thou wert despis’d?

Richard Plantagenet

45 - 56
  1. First, lean thine aged back against mine arm,
  2. And in that ease, I’ll tell thee my disease.
  3. This day, in argument upon a case,
  4. Some words there grew ’twixt Somerset and me;
  5. Among which terms he us’d his lavish tongue
  6. And did upbraid me with my father’s death;
  7. Which obloquy set bars before my tongue,
  8. Else with the like I had requited him.
  9. Therefore, good uncle, for my father’s sake,
  10. In honor of a true Plantagenet,
  11. And for alliance sake, declare the cause
  12. My father, Earl of Cambridge, lost his head.

Edmund Mortimer

57 - 60
  1. That cause, fair nephew, that imprison’d me
  2. And hath detain’d me all my flow’ring youth
  3. Within a loathsome dungeon, there to pine,
  4. Was cursed instrument of his decease.

Richard Plantagenet

61 - 62
  1. Discover more at large what cause that was,
  2. For I am ignorant and cannot guess.

Edmund Mortimer

63 - 94
  1. I will, if that my fading breath permit
  2. And death approach not ere my tale be done.
  3. Henry the Fourth, grandfather to this king,
  4. Depos’d his nephew Richard, Edward’s son,
  5. The first begotten, and the lawful heir
  6. Of Edward king, the third of that descent;
  7. During whose reign the Percies of the north,
  8. Finding his usurpation most unjust,
  9. Endeavor’d my advancement to the throne.
  10. The reason mov’d these warlike lords to this
  11. Was, for that (young Richard thus remov’d,
  12. Leaving no heir begotten of his body)
  13. I was the next by birth and parentage;
  14. For by my mother I derived am
  15. From Lionel Duke of Clarence, third son
  16. To King Edward the Third; whereas he
  17. From John of Gaunt doth bring his pedigree,
  18. Being but fourth of that heroic line.
  19. But mark: as in this haughty great attempt
  20. They labored to plant the rightful heir,
  21. I lost my liberty, and they their lives.
  22. Long after this, when Henry the Fifth
  23. (Succeeding his father Bullingbrook) did reign,
  24. Thy father, Earl of Cambridge then, deriv’d
  25. From famous Edmund Langley, Duke of York,
  26. Marrying my sister that thy mother was,
  27. Again, in pity of my hard distress,
  28. Levied an army, weening to redeem
  29. And have install’d me in the diadem.
  30. But as the rest, so fell that noble earl,
  31. And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers,
  32. In whom the title rested, were suppress’d.

Richard Plantagenet

95
  1. Of which, my lord, your honor is the last.

Edmund Mortimer

96 - 99
  1. True; and thou seest that I no issue have,
  2. And that my fainting words do warrant death.
  3. Thou art my heir; the rest I wish thee gather;
  4. But yet be wary in thy studious care.

Richard Plantagenet

100 - 102
  1. Thy grave admonishments prevail with me.
  2. But yet methinks, my father’s execution
  3. Was nothing less than bloody tyranny.

Edmund Mortimer

103 - 108
  1. With silence, nephew, be thou politic.
  2. Strong fixed is the house of Lancaster,
  3. And like a mountain, not to be remov’d.
  4. But now thy uncle is removing hence,
  5. As princes do their courts, when they are cloy’d
  6. With long continuance in a settled place.

Richard Plantagenet

109 - 110
  1. O uncle, would some part of my young years
  2. Might but redeem the passage of your age!

Edmund Mortimer

111 - 116
  1. Thou dost then wrong me, as that slaughterer doth
  2. Which giveth many wounds when one will kill.
  3. Mourn not, except thou sorrow for my good,
  4. Only give order for my funeral.
  5. And so farewell, and fair be all thy hopes,
  6. And prosperous be thy life in peace and war!
  1. Dies.

Richard Plantagenet

118 - 133
  1. And peace, no war, befall thy parting soul!
  2. In prison hast thou spent a pilgrimage,
  3. And like a hermit overpass’d thy days.
  4. Well, I will lock his counsel in my breast,
  5. And what I do imagine, let that rest.
  6. Keepers, convey him hence, and I myself
  7. Will see his burial better than his life.
  8. Exeunt Keepers, bearing out the body of Mortimer.
  9. Here dies the dusky torch of Mortimer,
  10. Chok’d with ambition of the meaner sort;
  11. And for those wrongs, those bitter injuries,
  12. Which Somerset hath offer’d to my house,
  13. I doubt not but with honor to redress.
  14. And therefore haste I to the parliament,
  15. Either to be restored to my blood,
  16. Or make my will th’ advantage of my good.
  1. Exit.
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