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

Act I. Scene III.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

Field of Battle between Sandal Castle and Wakefield.

Alarums: Excursions.Enter RUTLAND and his Tutor.

Rut.Ah, whither shall I fly to ’scape their hands?

Ah! tutor, look, where bloody Clifford comes!

Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers.

Clif.Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life.

As for the brat of this accursed duke,

Whose father slew my father, he shall die.

Tut.And I, my lord, will bear him company.

Clif.Soldiers, away with him.

Tut.Ah! Clifford, murder not this innocent child,

Lest thou be hated both of God and man![Exit, forced off by Soldiers.

Clif.How now! is he dead already? Or is it fear

That makes him close his eyes? I’ll open them.

Rut.So looks the pent-up lion o’er the wretch

That trembles under his devouring paws;

And so he walks, insulting o’er his prey,

And so he comes to rend his limbs asunder.

Ah! gentle Clifford, kill me with thy sword,

And not with such a cruel threatening look.

Sweet Clifford! hear me speak before I die:

I am too mean a subject for thy wrath;

Be thou reveng’d on men, and let me live.

Clif.In vain thou speak’st, poor boy; my father’s blood

Hath stopp’d the passage where thy words should enter.

Rut.Then let my father’s blood open it again:

He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.

Clif.Had I thy brethren here, their lives and thine

Were not revenge sufficient for me;

No, if I digg’d up thy forefathers’ graves,

And hung their rotten coffins up in chains,

It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart.

The sight of any of the house of York

Is as a fury to torment my soul;

And till I root out their accursed line,

And leave not one alive, I live in hell.

Therefore—[Lifting his hand.

Rut.O! let me pray before I take my death.

To thee I pray; sweet Clifford, pity me!

Clif.Such pity as my rapier’s point affords.

Rut.I never did thee harm: why wilt thou slay me?

Clif.Thy father hath.

Rut.But ’twas ere I was born.

Thou hast one son; for his sake pity me,

Lest in revenge thereof, sith God is just,

He be as miserably slain as I.

Ah! let me live in prison all my days;

And when I give occasion of offence,

Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause.

Clif.No cause!

Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.[Stabs him.

Rut.Dii faciant laudis summa sit ista tuœ![Dies.

Clif.Plantagenet! I come, Plantagenet!

And this thy son’s blood cleaving to my blade

Shall rust upon my weapon, till thy blood,

Congeal’d with this, do make me wipe off both.[Exit.