Home  »  The Oxford Shakespeare  »  The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

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

Act IV. Scene VIII.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

London.A Room in the Palace.


WarWhat counsel, lords? Edward from Belgia,

With hasty Germans and blunt Hollanders,

Hath pass’d in safety through the narrow seas,

And with his troops doth march amain to London;

And many giddy people flock to him.

Oxf.Let’s levy men, and beat him back again.

Clar.A little fire is quickly trodden out,

Which, being suffer’d, rivers cannot quench.

War.In Warwickshire I have true-hearted friends,

Not mutinous in peace, yet bold in war;

Those will I muster up: and thou, son Clarence,

Shalt stir up in Suffolk, Norfolk, and in Kent,

The knights and gentlemen to come with thee:

Thou, brother Montague, in Buckingham,

Northampton, and in Leicestershire, shalt find

Men wellinclin’d to hear what thou command’st:

And thou, brave Oxford, wondrous well belov’d

In Oxfordshire, shalt muster up thy friends.

My sov’reign, with the loving citizens,

Like to his island girt in with the ocean,

Or modest Dian circled with her nymphs,

Shall rest in London till we come to him.

Fair lords, take leave, and stand not to reply.

Farewell, my sovereign.

K. Hen.Farewell, my Hector, and my Troy’s true hope.

Clar.In sign of truth, I kiss your highness’ hand.

K. Hen.Well-minded Clarence, be thou fortunate!

Mont.Comfort, my lord; and so, I take my leave.

Oxf.[Kissing HENRY’S hand.]And thus I seal my truth, and bid adieu.

K. Hen.Sweet Oxford, and my loving Montague,

And all at once, once more a happy farewell.

War.Farewell, sweet lords: let’s meet at Coventry.[Exeunt all but KING HENRY and EXETER.

K. Hen.Here at the palace will I rest awhile.

Cousin of Exeter, what thinks your lordship?

Methinks the power that Edward hath in field

Should not be able to encounter mine.

Exe.The doubt is that he will seduce the rest.

K. Hen.That’s not my fear; my meed hath got me fame:

I have not stopp’d mine ears to their demands,

Nor posted off their suits with slow delays;

My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds,

My mildness hath allay’d their swelling griefs,

My mercy dried their water-flowing tears;

I have not been desirous of their wealth;

Nor much oppress’d them with great subsidies,

Nor forward of revenge, though they much err’d.

Then why should they love Edward more than me?

No, Exeter, these graces challenge grace:

And, when the lion fawns upon the lamb,

The lamb will never cease to follow him.[Shout within, ‘A Lancaster! A Lancaster!’

Exe.Hark, hark, my lord! what shouts are these?

Enter KING EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, and Soldiers.

K. Edw.Seize on the shame-fac’d Henry! bear him hence:

And once again proclaim us King of England.

You are the fount that makes small brooks to flow:

Now stops thy spring; my sea shall suck them dry,

And swell so much the higher by their ebb.

Hence with him to the Tower! let him not speak.[Exeunt some with KING HENRY.

And, lords, towards Coventry bend we our course,

Where peremptory Warwick now remains:

The sun shines hot; and, if we use delay,

Cold biting winter mars our hop’d-for hay.

Glo.Away betimes, before his forces join,

And take the great-grown traitor unawares:

Brave warriors, march amain towards Coventry.[Exeunt.