London. The palace.
(Archbishop of York; Duke of York; Queen Elizabeth; Duchess of York; Messenger to the Queen)
The Duchess of York, the Queen and the Archbishop of York discuss matters with the King’s younger son, the Duke of York, in attendance. The boy comments on his uncle Richard, who shares his name. The Queen makes certain that some matters are not discussed in the boy’s presence. News comes that Richard has arrested Rivers, Grey and Vaughan and had them imprisoned. In fear, the Queen decides to take sanctuary with her son. (78 lines)
Enter Archbishop of York, the young Duke of York, the Queen Elizabeth, and the Duchess of York.
Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony-Stratford,
And at Northampton they do rest tonight.
Tomorrow, or next day, they will be here.
I long with all my heart to see the Prince.
I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
But I hear no; they say my son of York
Has almost overta’en him in his growth.
Ay, mother, but I would not have it so.
Why, my good cousin, it is good to grow.
Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talk’d how I did grow
More than my brother. “Ay,” quoth my uncle Gloucester,
“Small herbs have grace, great weeds do grow apace.”
And since, methinks I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet flow’rs are slow and weeds make haste.
Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did object the same to thee:
He was the wretched’st thing when he was young,
So long a-growing and so leisurely
That if his rule were true, he should be gracious.
And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.
I hope he is, but yet let mothers doubt.
Now by my troth, if I had been rememb’red,
I could have given my uncle’s Grace a flout,
To touch his growth nearer than he touch’d mine.
How, my young York? I prithee let me hear it.
Marry (they say) my uncle grew so fast
That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old;
’Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.
I prithee, pretty York, who told thee this?
Grandam, his nurse.
His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.
If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.
A parlous boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.
Good madam, be not angry with the child.
Pitchers have ears.
Enter Messenger to the Queen.
Here comes a messenger. What news?
Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.
How doth the Prince?
Well, madam, and in health.
What is thy news?
Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
And with them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
Who hath committed them?
The mighty dukes,
Gloucester and Buckingham.
For what offense?
The sum of all I can I have disclos’d.
Why, or for what, the nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.
Ay me! I see the ruin of my house:
The tiger now hath seiz’d the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jut
Upon the innocent and aweless throne.
Welcome destruction, blood, and massacre!
I see (as in a map) the end of all.
Accursed and unquiet wrangling days,
How many of you have mine eyes beheld!
My husband lost his life to get the crown,
And often up and down my sons were toss’d
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss;
And being seated, and domestic broils
Clean overblown, themselves, the conquerors,
Make war upon themselves, brother to brother,
Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous
And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen,
Or let me die, to look on death no more!
Come, come, my boy, we will to sanctuary.
Stay, I will go with you.
You have no cause.
To the Queen.
My gracious lady, go,
And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace
The seal I keep, and so betide to me
As well I tender you and all of yours!
Go, I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.