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

Act IV. Scene VII.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

Before York.


K. Edw.Now, brother Richard, Lord Hastings, and the rest,

Yet thus far Fortune maketh us amends,

And says, that once more I shall interchange

My waned state for Henry’s regal crown.

Well have we pass’d, and now repass’d the seas,

And brought desired help from Burgundy:

What then remains, we being thus arriv’d

From Ravenspurgh haven before the gates of York,

But that we enter, as into our dukedom?

Glo.The gates made fast! Brother, I like not this;

For many men that stumble at the threshold

Are well foretold that danger lurks within.

K. Edw.Tush, man! abodements must not now affright us.

By fair or foul means we must enter in,

For hither will our friends repair to us.

Hast.My liege, I’ll knock once more to summon them.

Enter, on the Walls, the Mayor of York and his Brethren.

MayMy lords, we were forewarned of your coming,

And shut the gates for safety of ourselves;

For now we owe allegiance unto Henry.

K. Edw.But, Master Mayor, if Henry be your king,

Yet Edward, at the least, is Duke of York.

May.True, my good lord, I know you for no less.

K. Edw.Why, and I challenge nothing but my dukedom,

As being well content with that alone.

Glo.[Aside.]But when the fox hath once got in his nose,

He’ll soon find means to make the body follow.

Hast.Why, Master Mayor, why stand you in a doubt?

Open the gates; we are King Henry’s friends.

May.Ay, say you so? the gates shall then be open’d.[Exit, with Aldermen, above.

GloA wise stout captain, and soon persuaded.

Hast.The good old man would fain that all were well,

So ’twere not ’long of him; but being enter’d,

I doubt not, I, but we shall soon persuade

Both him and all his brothers unto reason.

Re-enter the Mayor and two Aldermen.

K. Edw.So, Master Mayor: these gates must not be shut

But in the night, or in the time of war.

What! fear not, man, but yield me up the keys;[Takes his keys.

For Edward will defend the town and thee,

And all those friends that deign to follow me.

Enter MONTGOMERY and Forces.

Glo.Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery,

Our trusty friend, unless I be deceiv’d.

K. Edw.Welcome, Sir John! but why come you in arms?

Mont.To help King Edward in his time of storm,

As every loyal subject ought to do.

K. Edw.Thanks, good Montgomery; but we now forget

Our title to the crown, and only claim

Our dukedom till God please to send the rest.

Mont.Then fare you well, for I will hence again:

I came to serve a king and not a duke.

Drummer, strike up, and let us march away.[A march begun.

K. Edw.Nay, stay, Sir John, awhile; and we’ll debate

By what safe means the crown may be recover’d.

Mont.What talk you of debating? in few words,

If you’ll not here proclaim yourself our king,

I’ll leave you to your fortune, and be gone

To keep them back that come to succour you.

Why shall we fight, if you pretend no title?

Glo.Why, brother, wherefore stand you on nice points?

K. Edw.When we grow stronger then we’ll make our claim;

Till then, ’tis wisdom to conceal our meaning.

Hast.Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule.

Glo.And fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns.

Brother, we will proclaim you out of hand;

The bruit thereof will bring you many friends.

K. Edw.Then be it as you will; for ’tis my right,

And Henry but usurps the diadem.

Mont.Ay, now my sov’reign speaketh like himself;

And now will I be Edward’s champion.

Hast.Sound, trumpet! Edward shall be here proclaim’d;

Come, fellow soldier, make thou proclamation.[Gives him a paper. Flourish.

Sold.Edward the Fourth, by the grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland, &c.

Mont.And whosoe’er gainsays King Edward’s right,

By this I challenge him to single fight.[Throws down his gauntlet.

All.Long live Edward the Fourth!

K. Edw.Thanks, brave Montgomery;—and thanks unto you all:

If Fortune serve me, I’ll requite this kindness.

Now, for this night, let’s harbour here in York;

And when the morning sun shall raise his car

Above the border of this horizon,

We’ll forward towards Warwick, and his mates;

For well I wot that Henry is no soldier.

Ah, froward Clarence, how evil it beseems thee

To flatter Henry, and forsake thy brother!

Yet, as we may, we’ll meet both thee and Warwick.

Come on, brave soldiers: doubt not of the day;

And, that once gotten, doubt not of large pay.[Exeunt.