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Henry VI, Part 3 Scenes

Scene 6

Yorkshire. Another part of the battlefield between Towton and Saxton.

(Clifford; Edward, Earl of March; Warwick; Richard; Soldiers; Montague; George of Clarence)

Clifford, shot through the neck with an arrow, realizes he is about to die. He bemoans the failure of Henry’s cause and faints. Edward, George, Richard and Warwick enter victorious, and finding Clifford’s body mock it soundly, not realizing that he is now dead. Warwick orders that the head be cut off. He then explains his plans: to have Edward crowned, and then to enlist French support for their cause by marrying him to the French King’s sister, Lady Bona. Edward agrees, and names his brothers Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester respectively. (111 lines)

A loud alarum. Enter Clifford wounded with an arrow in his neck.


Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,

Which whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light.

O Lancaster! I fear thy overthrow

More than my body’s parting with my soul.

My love and fear glu’d many friends to thee,

And now I fall, thy tough commixtures melts,

Impairing Henry, strength’ning misproud York.

The common people swarm like summer flies,

And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?

And who shines now but Henry’s enemies?

O Phoebus! Hadst thou never given consent

That Phaëton should check thy fiery steeds,

Thy burning car never had scorch’d the earth.

And, Henry, hadst thou sway’d as kings should do,

Or as thy father and his father did,

Giving no ground unto the house of York,

They never then had sprung like summer flies;

I and ten thousand in this luckless realm

Had left no mourning widows for our death,

And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace.

For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air?

And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?

Bootless are plaints, and cureless are my wounds;

No way to fly, nor strength to hold out flight.

The foe is merciless, and will not pity;

For at their hands I have deserv’d no pity.

The air hath got into my deadly wounds,

And much effuse of blood doth make me faint.

Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest,

I stabb’d your fathers’ bosoms, split my breast.

He faints.

Alarum and retreat. Enter Edward, Warwick, Richard, and Soldiers, Montague, and George of Clarence.


Now breathe we, lords, good fortune bids us pause

And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks.

Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen,

That led calm Henry, though he were a king,

As doth a sail, fill’d with a fretting gust,

Command an argosy to stem the waves.

But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them?


No, ’tis impossible he should escape;

For (though before his face I speak the words)

Your brother Richard mark’d him for the grave,

And wheresoe’er he is, he’s surely dead.

Clifford groans and then dies.


Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?

A deadly groan, like life and death’s departing.

See who it is.


And, now the battle’s ended,

If friend or foe, let him be gently used.


Revoke that doom of mercy, for ’tis Clifford,

Who, not contented that he lopp’d the branch

In hewing Rutland when his leaves put forth,

But set his murd’ring knife unto the root

From whence that tender spray did sweetly spring,

I mean our princely father, Duke of York.


From off the gates of York fetch down the head,

Your father’s head, which Clifford placed there;

In stead whereof let this supply the room:

Measure for measure must be answered.


Bring forth that fatal screech owl to our house

That nothing sung but death to us and ours.

Now death shall stop his dismal threat’ning sound,

And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.


I think his understanding is bereft.

Speak, Clifford, dost thou know who speaks to thee?

Dark cloudy death o’ershades his beams of life,

And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.


O would he did! And so, perhaps, he doth;

’Tis but his policy to counterfeit,

Because he would avoid such bitter taunts

Which in the time of death he gave our father.


If so thou think’st, vex him with eager words.


Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.


Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.


Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.


While we devise fell tortures for thy faults.


Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.


Thou pitiedst Rutland, I will pity thee.


Where’s Captain Margaret, to fence you now?


They mock thee, Clifford, swear as thou wast wont.


What, not an oath? Nay, then the world goes hard

When Clifford cannot spare his friends an oath.

I know by that he’s dead, and by my soul,

If this right hand would buy two hours’ life

That I, in all despite, might rail at him,

This hand should chop it off; and with the issuing blood

Stifle the villain whose unstanched thirst

York and young Rutland could not satisfy.


Ay, but he’s dead. Off with the traitor’s head,

And rear it in the place your father’s stands.

And now to London with triumphant march,

There to be crowned England’s royal king;

From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France,

And ask the Lady Bona for thy queen.

So shalt thou sinow both these lands together,

And having France thy friend, thou shalt not dread

The scatt’red foe that hopes to rise again;

For though they cannot greatly sting to hurt,

Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears.

First will I see the coronation,

And then to Brittany I’ll cross the sea

To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.


Even as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be;

For in thy shoulder do I build my seat,

And never will I undertake the thing

Wherein thy counsel and consent is wanting.

Richard, I will create thee Duke of Gloucester,

And George, of Clarence. Warwick, as ourself,

Shall do and undo as him pleaseth best.


Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester,

For Gloucester’s dukedom is too ominous.


Tut, that’s a foolish observation.

Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London

To see these honors in possession.



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