Henry VI, Pt. 3
Act II, Scene 5
Yorkshire. Another part of the battlefield between Towton and Saxton.
- Alarum. Enter King Henry alone.
King Henry the Sixth1 - 54
- This battle fares like to the morning’s war,
- When dying clouds contend with growing light,
- What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
- Can neither call it perfect day nor night.
- Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea
- Forc’d by the tide to combat with the wind;
- Now sways it that way, like the self-same sea
- Forc’d to retire by fury of the wind.
- Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind;
- Now one the better, then another best;
- Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
- Yet neither conqueror nor conquered;
- So is the equal poise of this fell war.
- Here on this molehill will I sit me down.
- To whom God will, there be the victory!
- For Margaret my queen, and Clifford too,
- Have chid me from the battle; swearing both
- They prosper best of all when I am thence.
- Would I were dead, if God’s good will were so;
- For what is in this world but grief and woe?
- O God! Methinks it were a happy life
- To be no better than a homely swain,
- To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
- To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
- Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
- How many makes the hour full complete,
- How many hours brings about the day,
- How many days will finish up the year,
- How many years a mortal man may live.
- When this is known, then to divide the times:
- So many hours must I tend my flock,
- So many hours must I take my rest,
- So many hours must I contemplate,
- So many hours must I sport myself,
- So many days my ewes have been with young,
- So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean,
- So many years ere I shall shear the fleece:
- So minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
- Pass’d over to the end they were created,
- Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
- Ah! What a life were this! How sweet! How lovely!
- Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
- To shepherds looking on their silly sheep
- Than doth a rich embroider’d canopy
- To kings that fear their subjects’ treachery?
- O yes, it doth; a thousandfold it doth.
- And to conclude, the shepherd’s homely curds,
- His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,
- His wonted sleep under a fresh tree’s shade,
- All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
- Is far beyond a prince’s delicates—
- His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
- His body couched in a curious bed,
- When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.
- Alarum. Enter A Son That Has Killed His Father, at one door,
- dragging in the dead body.
Son55 - 72
- Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
- This man whom hand to hand I slew in fight
- May be possessed with some store of crowns,
- And I that, haply, take them from him now,
- May yet, ere night, yield both my life and them
- To some man else, as this dead man doth me.
- Who’s this? O God! It is my father’s face,
- Whom in this conflict I, unwares, have kill’d.
- O heavy times, begetting such events!
- From London by the King was I press’d forth;
- My father, being the Earl of Warwick’s man,
- Came on the part of York, press’d by his master;
- And I, who at his hands receiv’d my life,
- Have by my hands of life bereaved him.
- Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did!
- And pardon, father, for I knew not thee!
- My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks;
- And no more words till they have flow’d their fill.
King Henry the Sixth73 - 78
- O piteous spectacle! O bloody times!
- Whiles lions war and battle for their dens,
- Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.
- Weep, wretched man; I’ll aid thee tear for tear,
- And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,
- Be blind with tears, and break o’ercharg’d with grief.
- Enter A Father That Has Killed His Son, at another door,
- bearing of his son.
Father79 - 93
- Thou that so stoutly hath resisted me,
- Give me thy gold—if thou hast any gold—
- For I have bought it with an hundred blows.
- But let me see: is this our foeman’s face?
- Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son!
- Ah, boy, if any life be left in thee,
- Throw up thine eye! See, see what show’rs arise,
- Blown with the windy tempest of my heart
- Upon thy wounds, that kills mine eye and heart!
- O, pity, God, this miserable age!
- What stratagems! How fell! How butcherly!
- Erroneous, mutinous, and unnatural,
- This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!
- O boy! Thy father gave thee life too soon,
- And hath bereft thee of thy life too late.
King Henry the Sixth94 - 102
- Woe above woe! Grief more than common grief!
- O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
- O, pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!
- The red rose and the white are on his face,
- The fatal colors of our striving houses;
- The one his purple blood right well resembles,
- The other his pale cheeks, methinks, presenteth.
- Wither one rose, and let the other flourish;
- If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.
Son103 - 104
- How will my mother for a father’s death
- Take on with me, and ne’er be satisfied!
Father105 - 106
- How will my wife for slaughter of my son
- Shed seas of tears, and ne’er be satisfied!
King Henry the Sixth107 - 108
- How will the country for these woeful chances
- Misthink the King, and not be satisfied!
- Was ever son so ru’d a father’s death?
- Was ever father so bemoan’d his son?
King Henry the Sixth111 - 112
- Was ever king so griev’d for subjects’ woe?
- Much is your sorrow; mine ten times so much.
- I’ll bear thee hence, where I may weep my fill.
- Exit with his father.
Father114 - 122
- These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet;
- My heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulchre,
- For from my heart thine image ne’er shall go;
- My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell;
- And so obsequious will thy father be,
- E’en for the loss of thee, having no more,
- As Priam was for all his valiant sons.
- I’ll bear thee hence, and let them fight that will,
- For I have murdered where I should not kill.
- Exit with his son.
King Henry the Sixth123 - 124
- Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,
- Here sits a king more woeful than you are.
- Alarums. Excursions. Enter the Queen Margaret, the Prince
- Edward, and Exeter.
Prince125 - 127
- Fly, father, fly! For all your friends are fled,
- And Warwick rages like a chafed bull.
- Away! For death doth hold us in pursuit.
Queen Margaret128 - 133
- Mount you, my lord, towards Berwick post amain.
- Edward and Richard, like a brace of greyhounds
- Having the fearful flying hare in sight,
- With fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath,
- And bloody steel grasp’d in their ireful hands,
- Are at our backs, and therefore hence amain.
Duke of Exeter134 - 136
- Away! For vengeance comes along with them.
- Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed,
- Or else come after. I’ll away before.
King Henry the Sixth137 - 139
- Nay, take me with thee, good sweet Exeter;
- Not that I fear to stay, but love to go
- Whither the Queen intends. Forward, away!