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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene VI.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

A Room in the Tower.

Enter KING HENRY, CLARENCE, WARWICK, SOMERSET, young RICHMOND, OXFORD, MONTAGUE, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Attendants.

K. Hen.Master lieutenant, now that God and friends

Have shaken Edward from the regal seat,

And turn’d my captive state to liberty,

My fear to hope, my sorrows unto joys,

At our enlargement what are thy due fees?

Lieu.Subjects may challenge nothing of their sovereigns;

But if a humble prayer may prevail,

I then crave pardon of your majesty.

K. Hen.For what, lieutenant? for well using me?

Nay, be thou sure, I’ll well requite thy kindness,

For that it made my imprisonment a pleasure;

Ay, such a pleasure as encaged birds

Conceive, when, after many moody thoughts

At last by notes of household harmony

They quite forget their loss of liberty.

But, Warwick, after God, thou set’st me free,

And chiefly therefore I thank God and thee;

He was the author, thou the instrument.

Therefore, that I may conquer Fortune’s spite

By living low, where Fortune cannot hurt me,

And that the people of this blessed land

May not be punish’d with my thwarting stars,

Warwick, although my head still wear the crown,

I here resign my government to thee,

For thou art fortunate in all thy deeds.

War.Your Grace hath still been fam’d for virtuous;

And now may seem as wise as virtuous,

By spying and avoiding Fortune’s malice;

For few men rightly temper with the stars:

Yet in this one thing let me blame your Grace,

For choosing me when Clarence is in place.

Clar.No, Warwick, thou art worthy of the sway,

To whom the heavens, in thy nativity

Adjudg’d an olive branch and laurel crown,

As likely to be blest in peace, and war;

And therefore I yield thee my free consent.

War.And I choose Clarence only for protector.

K. HenWarwick and Clarence, give me both your hands:

Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts,

That no dissension hinder government:

I make you both protectors of this land,

While I myself will lead a private life,

And in devotion spend my latter days,

To sin’s rebuke and my Creator’s praise.

War.What answers Clarence to his sovereign’s will?

Clar.That he consents, if Warwick yield consent;

For on thy fortune I repose myself.

War.Why then, though loath, yet must I be content:

We’ll yoke together, like a double shadow

To Henry’s body, and supply his place;

I mean, in bearing weight of government,

While he enjoys the honour and his ease.

And, Clarence, now then it is more than needful

Forthwith that Edward be pronounc’d a traitor,

And all his lands and goods be confiscate.

Clar.What else? and that succession be determin’d.

War.Ay, therein Clarence shall not want his part.

K. Hen.But, with the first of all your chief affairs,

Let me entreat, for I command no more,

That Margaret your queen, and my son Edward,

Be sent for, to return from France with speed:

For, till I see them here, by doubtful fear

My joy of liberty is half eclips’d.

Clar.It shall be done, my sov’reign, with all speed.

K. Hen.My Lord of Somerset, what youth is that

Of whom you seem to have so tender care?

Som.My liege, it is young Henry, Earl of Richmond.

K. Hen.Come hither, England’s hope:[Lays his hand on his head.]If secret powers

Suggest but truth to my divining thoughts,

This pretty lad will prove our country’s bliss.

His looks are full of peaceful majesty,

His head by nature fram’d to wear a crown,

His hand to wield a sceptre, and himself

Likely in time to bless a regal throne.

Make much of him, my lords; for this is he

Must help you more than you are hurt by me.

Enter a Post.

War.What news, my friend?

Mess.That Edward is escaped from your brother,

And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.

War.Unsavoury news! but how made he escape?

Mess.He was convey’d by Richard Duke of Gloucester,

And the Lord Hastings, who attended him

In secret ambush on the forest side,

And from the bishop’s huntsmen rescu’d him:

For hunting was his daily exercise.

War.My brother was too careless of his charge.

But let us hence, my sovereign, to provide

A salve for any sore that may betide.[Exeunt KING HENRY, WARWICK, CLARENCE, Lieutenant, and Attendant.

Som.My lord, I like not of this flight of Edward’s;

For doubtless Burgundy will yield him help,

And we shall have more wars before ’t be long.

As Henry’s late presaging prophecy

Did glad my heart with hope of this young Richmond,

So doth my heart misgive me, in these conflicts

What may befall him to his harm and ours:

Therefore, Lord Oxford, to prevent the worst,

Forthwith we’ll send him hence to Brittany,

Till storms be past of civil enmity.

Oxf.Ay, for if Edward repossess the crown,

’Tis like that Richmond with the rest shall down.

Som.It shall be so; he shall to Brittany.

Come, therefore, let’s about it speedily.[Exeunt.