Henry VI, Pt. 3
Act 5, Scene 4
Plains near Tewksbury.
- Flourish. March. Enter the Queen Margaret, young Prince
- Edward, Somerset, Oxford, and Soldiers.
Queen Margaret3 - 40
- 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,
- 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 sav’d?
- Ah, what a shame, ah, what a fault were this!
- Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
- And Montague our topmast; what of him?
- Our slaught’red 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 unskillful, why not Ned and I
- For once allow’d the skillful 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 wrack.
- 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,
- If case some one of you would fly from us,
- That there’s no hop’d-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.
Prince41 - 51
- 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.
Earl of Oxford52 - 56
- 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!
Duke of Somerset57 - 59
- 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 wond’red at.
- Thanks, gentle Somerset, sweet Oxford, thanks.
- And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.
- Enter Second Lancastrian Messenger.
Second Lancastrian Messenger63 - 64
- Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand,
- Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
Earl of Oxford65 - 66
- I thought no less; it is his policy
- To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
Duke of Somerset67
- But he’s deceiv’d, we are in readiness.
- This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.
Earl of Oxford69
- Here pitch our battle, hence we will not budge.
- Flourish and march. Enter King Edward, Richard of
- Gloucester, Clarence, and Soldiers.
King Edward72 - 77
- 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!
Queen Margaret78 - 87
- Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say
- My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
- Ye see I drink the water of my eye.
- Therefore no more but this: Henry, your sovereign,
- Is prisoner to the foe, his state usurp’d,
- His realm a slaughter-house, 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.
- Alarum to the battle. Retreat. King Edward, with his
- followers, flies. Excursions; the chambers be discharged.
- Then enter King Edward, Clarence, Gloucester, and the rest
- of the King’s followers and make a great shout, and cry,
- “For York! For York!”.
- Then Queen Margaret is taken, and Prince Edward and Oxford
- and Somerset.