She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,
Whose tongue more poisons than the adder’s tooth!
How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex
To triumph like an Amazonian trull
Upon their woes whom fortune captivates!
But that thy face is vizard-like, unchanging,
Made impudent with use of evil deeds,
I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush.
To tell thee whence thou cam’st, of whom deriv’d,
Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless.
Thy father bears the type of King of Naples,
Of both the Sicils and Jerusalem,
Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen,
Unless the adage must be verified,
That beggars mounted run their horse to death.
’Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud,
But God he knows thy share thereof is small.
’Tis virtue that doth make them most admir’d,
The contrary doth make thee wond’red at.
’Tis government that makes them seem divine,
The want thereof makes thee abominable.
Thou art as opposite to every good
As the antipodes are unto us,
Or as the south to the septentrion.
O tiger’s heart wrapp’d in a woman’s hide!
How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child,
To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
And yet be seen to wear a woman’s face?
Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
Bid’st thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish:
Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will:
For raging wind blows up incessant showers,
And when the rage allays, the rain begins.
These tears are my sweet Rutland’s obsequies,
And every drop cries vengeance for his death
’Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false Frenchwoman.
That face of his the hungry cannibals
Would not have touch’d, would not have stain’d with blood;
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
O, ten times more, than tigers of Hyrcania.
See, ruthless queen, a hapless father’s tears!
This cloth thou dipp’dst in blood of my sweet boy,
And I with tears do wash the blood away.
Keep thou the napkin and go boast of this,
And if thou tell’st the heavy story right,
Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;
Yea, even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
And say, “Alas, it was a piteous deed!”
There, take the crown, and with the crown, my curse,
And in thy need such comfort come to thee
As now I reap at thy too cruel hand!
Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world,
My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads!