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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Henry VI, Part 3 Scenes


Scene 1

Coventry.

(Warwick; Mayor of Coventry; Oxford Messenger; Montague Messenger; Sir John Somervile; King Edward; Richard of Gloucester; Soldiers; Oxford; Montague; Somerset; Clarence)


Warwick awaits the arrival of his friends, but is surprised by the appearance of Edward’s forces instead. Mutual defiance ensues. Oxford, Montague and Somerset all come to reinforce Warwick, but when Clarence arrives, he has a whispered conversation with Richard, and throws away his red rose to rejoin his brothers against his father-in-law. Both sides prepare to fight. ( line)

Enter Warwick, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers, and others, upon the walls.

WAR.

Where is the post that came from valiant Oxford?

How far hence is thy lord, mine honest fellow?

OXF. MESS.

By this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward.

WAR.

How far off is our brother Montague?

Where is the post that came from Montague?

MONT. MESS.

By this at Daintry, with a puissant troop.

Enter Sir John Somervile.

WAR.

Say, Somervile, what says my loving son?

And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?

SOM.

At Southam I did leave him with his forces,

And do expect him here some two hours hence.

Drum heard.

WAR.

Then Clarence is at hand, I hear his drum.

SOM.

It is not his, my lord, here Southam lies;

The drum your honor hears marcheth from Warwick.

WAR.

Who should that be? Belike unlook’d-for friends.

SOM.

They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.

March. Flourish. Enter King Edward, Richard of Gloucester, and Soldiers.

K. EDW.

Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.

GLOU.

See how the surly Warwick mans the wall!

WAR.

O unbid spite, is sportful Edward come?

Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduc’d,

That we could hear no news of his repair?

K. EDW.

Now, Warwick, wilt thou ope the city-gates,

Speak gentle words and humbly bend thy knee,

Call Edward king and at his hands beg mercy?

And he shall pardon thee these outrages.

WAR.

Nay rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence,

Confess who set thee up and pluck’d thee down,

Call Warwick patron, and be penitent?

And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.

GLOU.

I thought, at least, he would have said the King,

Or did he make the jest against his will?

WAR.

Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?

GLOU.

Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give.

I’ll do thee service for so good a gift.

WAR.

’Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother.

K. EDW.

Why then ’tis mine, if but by Warwick’s gift.

WAR.

Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight;

And, weakling, Warwick takes his gift again,

And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.

K. EDW.

But Warwick’s king is Edward’s prisoner.

And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this:

What is the body when the head is off?

GLOU.

Alas, that Warwick had no more forecast,

But, whiles he thought to steal the single ten,

The king was slily finger’d from the deck!

You left poor Henry at the Bishop’s palace,

And ten to one you’ll meet him in the tower.

K. EDW.

’Tis even so, yet you are Warwick still.

GLOU.

Come, Warwick, take the time, kneel down, kneel down.

Nay, when? Strike now, or else the iron cools.

WAR.

I had rather chop this hand off at a blow,

And with the other fling it at thy face,

Than bear so low a sail to strike to thee.

K. EDW.

Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,

This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair,

Shall, whiles thy head is warm and new cut off,

Write in the dust this sentence with thy blood:

“Wind-changing Warwick now can change no more.”

Enter Oxford with Drum and Colors.

WAR.

O cheerful colors! See where Oxford comes!

OXF.

Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!

He and his forces enter the city.

GLOU.

The gates are open, let us enter too.

K. EDW.

So other foes may set upon our backs.

Stand we in good array; for they no doubt

Will issue out again and bid us battle.

If not, the city being but of small defense,

We’ll quickly rouse the traitors in the same.

WAR.

O, welcome, Oxford, for we want thy help.

Enter Montague with Drum and Colors.

MONT.

Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!

He and his forces enter the city.

GLOU.

Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason

Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.

K. EDW.

The harder match’d, the greater victory:

My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.

Enter Somerset with Drum and Colors.

D. SOM.

Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!

He and his forces enter the city.

GLOU.

Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset,

Have sold their lives unto the house of York,

And thou shalt be the third, and this sword hold.

Enter Clarence with Drum and Colors.

WAR.

And lo, where George of Clarence sweeps along,

Of force enough to bid his brother battle;

With whom an upright zeal to right prevails

More than the nature of a brother’s love!

Gloucester and Clarence whisper together.

Come, Clarence, come; thou wilt, if Warwick call.

CLAR.

Father of Warwick, know you what this means?

Look here, I throw my infamy at thee.

Clarence takes his red rose out of his hat and throws it at Warwick.

I will not ruinate my father’s house,

Who gave his blood to lime the stones together,

And set up Lancaster. Why, trowest thou, Warwick,

That Clarence is so harsh, so blunt, unnatural,

To bend the fatal instruments of war

Against his brother and his lawful king?

Perhaps thou wilt object my holy oath:

To keep that oath were more impiety

Than Jephthah when he sacrific’d his daughter.

I am so sorry for my trespass made

That to deserve well at my brother’s hands,

I here proclaim myself thy mortal foe;

With resolution, wheresoe’er I meet thee

(As I will meet thee, if thou stir abroad),

To plague thee for thy foul misleading me.

And so, proud-hearted Warwick, I defy thee,

And to my brother turn my blushing cheeks.

Pardon me, Edward, I will make amends;

And, Richard, do not frown upon my faults,

For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.

K. EDW.

Now welcome more, and ten times more belov’d,

Than if thou never hadst deserv’d our hate.

GLOU.

Welcome, good Clarence, this is brother-like.

WAR.

O passing traitor, perjur’d and unjust!

K. EDW.

What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town, and fight?

Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?

WAR.

Alas, I am not coop’d here for defense!

I will away towards Barnet presently,

And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou dar’st.

K. EDW.

Yes, Warwick, Edward dares, and leads the way.

Lords, to the field! Saint George and victory!

Exeunt King Edward and his company. March. Warwick and his company follows.

 
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