Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > 2 King Henry VI.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth
Act V. Scene I.
Kent.  Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.
The KING’S camp on one side.  On the other, enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum and colours.
  York.  From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry’s head:
Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,        5
To entertain great England’s lawful king.
Ah Sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear?
Let them obey that know not how to rule;
This hand was made to handle nought but gold:
I cannot give due action to my words,        10
Except a sword, or sceptre balance it.
A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
On which I’ll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?        15
The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble.
  Buck.  York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
  York.  Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
  Buck.  A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,        20
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
Or why thou,—being a subject as I am,—
Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
Shouldst raise so great a power without his leave,
Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.        25
  York.  [Aside.]  Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great:
O! I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
I am so angry at these abject terms;
And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.        30
I am far better born than is the king,
More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts;
But I must make fair weather yet awhile,
Till Henry be more weak, and I more strong.
[Aloud.]  Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,        35
That I have given no answer all this while;
My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
The cause why I have brought this army hither
Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
Seditious to his Grace and to the state.        40
  Buck.  That is too much presumption on thy part:
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand:
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
  York.  Upon thine honour, is he a prisoner?        45
  Buck.  Upon mine honour, he is a prisoner.
  York.  Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.
Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;
Meet me to-morrow in Saint George’s field,
You shall have pay, and everything you wish,        50
And let my sov’reign, virtuous Henry,
Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
As pledges of my fealty and love;
I’ll send them all as willing as I live:
Lands, goods, horse, armour, anything I have        55
Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
  Buck.  York, I commend this kind submission:
We twain will go into his highness’ tent.
Enter KING HENRY, attended.
  K. Hen.  Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,        60
That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
  York.  In all submission and humility
York doth present himself unto your highness.
  K. Hen.  Then what intend these forces thou dost bring?
  York.  To heave the traitor Somerset from hence,        65
And fight against that monstrous rebel, Cade,
Who since I heard to be discomfited.
Enter IDEN, with CADE’S head.
  Iden.  If one so rude and of so mean condition
May pass into the presence of a king,        70
Lo! I present your Grace a traitor’s head,
The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
  K. Hen.  The head of Cade! Great God, how just art thou!
O! let me view his visage, being dead,
That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.        75
Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
  Iden.  I was, an ’t like your majesty.
  K. Hen.  How art thou call’d, and what is thy degree?
  Iden.  Alexander Iden, that’s my name;
A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.        80
  Buck.  So please it you, my lord, ’twere not amiss
He were created knight for his good service.
  K. Hen.  Iden, kneel down.  [He kneels.]  Rise up a knight.
We give thee for reward a thousand marks;
And will, that thou henceforth attend on us.        85
  Iden.  May Iden live to merit such a bounty,
And never live but true unto his liege!
  K. Hen.  See! Buckingham! Somerset comes with the queen:
Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.
  Q. Mar.  For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
But boldly stand and front him to his face.
  York.  How now! is Somerset at liberty?
Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison’d thoughts
And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.        95
Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
King did I call thee? no, thou art not king;
Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,        100
Which dar’st not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor.
That head of thine doth not become a crown;
Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer’s staff,
And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,        105
Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles’ spear,
Is able with the change to kill and cure.
Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up,
And with the same to act controlling laws.
Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more        110
O’er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
  Som.  O monstrous traitor:—I arrest thee, York,
Of capital treason ’gainst the king and crown.
Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
  York.  Wouldst have me kneel? first let me ask of these        115
If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail:  [Exit an Attendant.
I know ere they will have me go to ward,
They’ll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
  Q. Mar.  Call hither Clifford; bid him come amain,        120
To say if that the bastard boys of York
Shall be the surety for their traitor father.  [Exit BUCKINGHAM.
  York.  O blood-bespotted Neapolitan,
Outcast of Naples, England’s bloody scourge!
The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,        125
Shall be their father’s bail; and bane to those
That for my surety will refuse the boys!
Enter EDWARD and RICHARD PLANTAGENET, with Forces at one side; at the other, with Forces also, Old CLIFFORD and his Son.
See where they come: I’ll warrant they’ll make it good.
  Q. Mar.  And here comes Clifford, to deny their bail.        130
  Clif.  [Kneeling.]  Health and all happiness to my lord the king!
  York.  I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?
Nay, do not fright us with an angry look:
We are thy sov’reign, Clifford, kneel again;
For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.        135
  Clif.  This is my king, York, I do not mistake;
But thou mistak’st me much to think I do.
To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?
  K. Hen.  Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
Makes him oppose himself against his king.        140
  Clif.  He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,
And chop away that factious pate of his.
  Q. Mar.  He is arrested, but will not obey:
His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
  York.  Will you not, sons?        145
  Edw.  Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.
  Rich.  And if words will not, then our weapons shall.
  Clif.  Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!
  York.  Look in a glass, and call thy image so:
I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.        150
Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
That with the very shaking of their chains
They may astonish these fell-lurking curs:
Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.
Drums.  Enter WARWICK and SALISBURY, with Forces.
  Clif.  Are these thy bears? we’ll bait thy bears to death,
And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
If thou dar’st bring them to the baiting-place.
  Rich.  Oft have I seen a hot o’erweening cur
Run back and bite, because he was withheld;        160
Who, being suffer’d with the bear’s fell paw,
Hath clapp’d his tail between his legs, and cried:
And such a piece of service will you do,
If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
  Clif.  Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,        165
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
  York.  Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
  Clif.  Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.
  K. Hen.  Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?
Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,        170
Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!
What! wilt thou on thy death-bed play the ruffian,
And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
O! where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
If it be banish’d from the frosty head,        175
Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?
Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
And shame thine honourable age with blood?
Why art thou old, and want’st experience?
Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?        180
For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me,
That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
  Sal.  My lord, I have consider’d with myself
The title of this most renowned duke;
And in my conscience do repute his Grace        185
The rightful heir to England’s royal seat.
  K. Hen.  Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
  Sal.  I have.
  K. Hen.  Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
  Sal.  It is great sin to swear unto a sin,        190
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
Who can be bound by any solemn vow
To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
To force a spotless virgin’s chastity,
To reave the orphan of his patrimony,        195
To wring the widow from her custom’d right,
And have no other reason for this wrong
But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
  Q. Mar.  A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
  K. Hen.  Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.        200
  York.  Call Buckingham, and all the friends thou hast,
I am resolv’d for death, or dignity.
  Clif.  The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.
  War.  You were best to go to bed and dream again,
To keep thee from the tempest of the field.        205
  Clif.  I am resolv’d to bear a greater storm
Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
And that I’ll write upon thy burgonet,
Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
  War.  Now, by my father’s badge, old Nevil’s crest,        210
The rampant bear chain’d to the ragged staff,
This day I’ll wear aloft my burgonet,—
As on a mountain-top the cedar shows,
That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,—
Even to affright thee with the view thereof.        215
  Clif.  And from thy burgonet I’ll rend thy bear,
And tread it underfoot with all contempt,
Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear.
  Y. Clif.  And so to arms, victorious father,
To quell the rebels and their complices.        220
  Rich.  Fie! charity! for shame! speak not in spite,
For you shall sup with Jesu Christ to-night.
  Y. Clif.  Foul stigmatic, that’s more than thou canst tell.
  Rich.  If not in heaven, you’ll surely sup in hell.  [Exeunt severally.

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