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

Act I. Scene II.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

A Room in Sandal Castle, near Wakefield, in Yorkshire.


Rich.Brother, though I be youngest, give me leave.

Edw.No, I can better play the orator.

Mont.But I have reasons strong and forcible.

Enter YORK.

York.Why, how now, sons and brother! at a strife?

What is your quarrel? how began it first?

Edw.No quarrel, but a slight contention.

York.About what?

Rich.About that which concerns your Grace and us;

The crown of England, father, which is yours.

York.Mine, boy? not till King Henry be dead.

Rich.Your right depends not on his life or death.

Edw.Now you are heir, therefore enjoy it now:

By giving the house of Lancaster leave to breathe,

It will outrun you, father, in the end.

York.I took an oath that he should quietly reign.

Edw.But for a kingdom any oath may be broken:

I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.

Rich.No; God forbid your Grace should be forsworn.

York.I shall be, if I claim by open war.

Rich.I’ll prove the contrary, if you’ll hear me speak.

York.Thou canst not, son; it is impossible.

Rich.An oath is of no moment, being not took

Before a true and lawful magistrate

That hath authority over him that swears:

Henry had none, but did usurp the place;

Then, seeing ’twas he that made you to depose,

Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous.

Therefore, to arms! And, father, do but think

How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown,

Within whose circuit is Elysium,

And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.

Why do we linger thus? I cannot rest

Until the white rose that I wear be dy’d

Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry’s heart.

York.Richard, enough, I will be king, or die.

Brother, thou shalt to London presently,

And whet on Warwick to this enterprise.

Thou, Richard, shalt unto the Duke of Norfolk,

And tell him privily of our intent.

You, Edward, shall unto my Lord Cobham,

With whom the Kentishmen will willingly rise:

In them I trust; for they are soldiers,

Witty, courteous, liberal, full of spirit.

While you are thus employ’d, what resteth more,

But that I seek occasion how to rise,

And yet the king not privy to my drift,

Nor any of the house of Lancaster?

Enter a Messenger.

But, stay: what news? why com’st thou in such post?

Mess.The queen with all the northern earls and lords

Intend here to besiege you in your castle.

She is hard by with twenty thousand men,

And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.

York.Ay, with my sword. What! think’st thou that we fear them?

Edward and Richard, you shall stay with me;

My brother Montague shall post to London:

Let noble Warwick, Cobham, and the rest,

Whom we have left protectors of the king,

With powerful policy strengthen themselves,

And trust not simple Henry nor his oaths.

Mont.Brother, I go; I’ll win them, fear it not:

And thus most humbly I do take my leave.[Exit.


York.Sir John, and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles!

You are come to Sandal in a happy hour;

The army of the queen mean to besiege us.

Sir John.She shall not need, we’ll meet her in the field.

York.What! with five thousand men?

Rich.Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need:

A woman’s general; what should we fear?[A march afar off.

Edw.I hear their drums; let’s set our men in order,

And issue forth and bid them battle straight.

York.Five men to twenty! though the odds be great,

I doubt not, uncle, of our victory.

Many a battle have I won in France,

When as the enemy hath been ten to one:

Why should I not now have the like success?[Alarum.Exeunt.