Act I. Scene
Act I. Scene I.London, The Parliament-
Drums. Some Soldiers of YORK's party break
in. Then, enter the DUKE OF YORK,
EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK,
MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Others, with
white roses in their hats.
War. I wonder how the king escap'd our
York. While we pursued the horsemen of the
He slily stole away and left his men:
Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,
Cheer'd up the drooping army; and himself,
Lord Clifford, and Lord Stafford, all abreast,
Charg'd our main battle's front, and breaking
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain-
Edw. Lord Stafford's father. Duke of Buck-
Is either slain or wounded dangerously;
I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
That this is true, father, behold his blood.
[Showing his bloody sword.
Mont. And, brother, here's the Earl of Wilt-
shire's blood, [To YORK, showing his.
Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd.
Rich. Speak thou for me, and tell them what
I did. [Throwing down the DUKE OF
York. Richard hath best deserv'd of all my
But, is your Grace dead, my Lord of Somerset?
Norf. Such hope have all the line of John of
Rich. Thus do I hope to shake King Henry's
War. And so do I. Victorious Prince of York,
Before I see thee seated in that throne
Which now the house of Lancaster usurps,
I vow by heaven these eyes shall never close.
This is the palace of the fearful king,
And this the regal seat: possess it, York;
For this is thine, and not King Henry's heirs'.
York. Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and
For hither we have broken in by force.
Norf. We'll all assist you; he that flies shall die.
York. Thanks, gentle Norfolk. Stay by me,
And, soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night.
War. And when the king comes, offer him no
Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.
[The Soldiers retire.
York. The queen this day here holds her
But little thinks we shall be of her council:
By words or blows here let us win our right.
Rich. Arm'd as we are, let's stay within this
War. The bloody parliament shall this be
Unless Plantagenet, Duke of York, be king,
And bashful Henry depos'd, whose cowardice
Hath made us by-words to our enemies.
York. Then leave me not, my lords; be
I mean to take possession of my right.
War. Neither the king, nor he that loves him
The proudest he that holds up Lancaster,
Dares stir a wing if Warwick shake his bells.
I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares.
Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.
[WARWICK leads YORK to the throne,
who seats himself.
Flourish. Enter KING HENRY, CLIFFORD,
LAND, EXETER, and Others, with red roses
in their hats.
K. Hen. My lords, look where the sturdy
Even in the chair of state! belike he means
Back'd by the power of Warwick, that false peer
To aspire unto the crown and reign as king.
Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father,
And thine, Lord Clifford; and you both have
On him, his sons, his favourites, and his friends.
North. If I be not, heavens be reveng'd on me!
Clif. The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn
West. What! shall we suffer this? let's pluck
My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.
K. Hen. Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmore-
Clif. Patience is for poltroons, such as he:
He durst not sit there had your father liv'd.
My gracious lord, here in the parliament
Let us assail the family of York,
North. Well hast thou spoken, cousin: be
K. Hen. Ah! know you not the city favours
And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?
Exe. But when the duke is slain they'll
K. Hen. Far be the thought of this from
To make a shambles of the parliament-house!
Cousin of Exeter, frowns, words, and threats,
Shall be the war that Henry means to use.
[They advance to the DUKE.
Thou factious Duke of York, descend my throne,
And kneel for grace and mercy at my feet;
I am thy sovereign.
York. I am thine.
Exe. For shame! come down: he made thee
Duke of York.
York. 'Twas my inheritance, as the earldom
Exe. Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
War. Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
In following this usurping Henry.
Clif. Whom should he follow but his natural
War. True, Clifford; and that's Richard,
Duke of York.
K. Hen. And shall I stand, and thou sit in
York. It must and shall be so: content thy-
War. Be Duke of Lancaster: let him be king.
West. He is both king and Duke of Lancaster;
And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall main-
War. And Warwick shall disprove it. You
That we are those which chas'd you from the
And slew your fathers, and with colours spread
March'd through the city to the palace gates.
North. Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my
And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
West. Plantagenet, of thee, and these thy
Thy kinsmen and thy friends, I'll have more
Than drops of blood were in my father's veins.
Clif. Urge it no more; lest that instead of
I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
As shall revenge his death before I stir.
War. Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worth-
York. Will you we show our title to the
If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.
K. Hen. What title hast thou, traitor, to the
Thy father was, as thou art, Duke of York;
Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March;
I am the son of Henry the Fifth,
Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop,
And seiz'd upon their towns and provinces.
War. Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost
K. Hen. The Lord Protector lost it, and not I:
When I was crown'd I was but nine months old.
Rich. You are old enough now, and yet, me-
thinks, you lose.
Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.
Edw. Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.
Mont. [To YORK.] Good brother, as thou lov'st
and honour'st arms,
Let's fight it out and not stand cavilling thus.
Rich. Sound drums and trumpets, and the
king will fly.
York. Sons, peace!
K. Hen. Peace thou! and give King Henry
leave to speak.
War. Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him,
And be you silent and attentive too,
For he that interrupts him shall not live.
K. Hen. Think'st thou that I will leave my
Wherein my grandsire and my father sat?
No: first shall war unpeople this my realm;
Ay, and their colours, often borne in France,
And now in England to our heart's great sorrow,
Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords?
My title's good, and better far than his.
War. Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be
K. Hen. Henry the Fourth by conquest got
York. 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
K. Hen. [Aside.] I know not what to say: my
[Aloud.] Tell me, may not a king adopt an
York. What then?
K. Hen. An if he may, then am I lawful king;
For Richard, in the view of many lords,
Resign'd the crown to Henry the Fourth,
whose heir my father was, and I am his.
York. He rose against him, being his sove-
And made him to resign his crown perforce.
War. Suppose, my lords, he did it uncon-
Think you 'twere prejudicial to his crown?
Exe. No; for he could not so resign his
But that the next heir should succeed and reign.
K. Hen. Art thou against us. Duke of Exeter?
Exe. His is the right, and therefore pardon
York. Why whisper you, my lords, and answer
Exe. My conscience tells me he is lawful
K. Hen. [Aside.] All will revolt from me, and
turn to him.
North. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou
Think not that Henry shall be so depos'd.
War. Depos'd he shall be in despite of all.
North. Thou art deceiv'd: 'tis not thy south-
Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,
Can set the duke up in despite of me.
Clif. King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence:
May that ground gape and swallow me alive,
Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father!
K. Hen. O Clifford, how thy words revive my
York. Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.
What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?
War. Do right unto this princely Duke of
Or I will fill the house with armed men,
And o'er the chair of state, where now he sits,
Write up his title with usurping blood.
[He stamps with his foot, and the
Soldiers show themselves,
K. Hen. My Lord of Warwick, hear me but
Let me for this my life-time reign as king.
York. Confirm the crown to me and to mine
And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou liv'st.
K. Hen. I am content: Richard Plantagenet,
Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.
Clif. What wrong is this unto the prince your
War. What good is this to England and
West. Base, fearful, and despairing Henry!
Clif. How hast thou injur'd both thyself
West. I cannot stay to hear these articles.
North. Nor I.
Clif. Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these
West. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate
In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
North. Be thou a prey unto the house of
And die in bands for this unmanly deed!
Clif. In dreadful war mayst thou be over-
Or live in peace abandon'd and despis'd!
[Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, CLIFFORD,
War. Turn this way. Henry, and regard them
Exe. They seek revenge and therefore will
K. Hen. Ah! Exeter.
War. Why should you sigh, my lord?
K. Hen. Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but
Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.
But be it as it may; I here entail
The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever;
Conditionally, that here thou take an oath
To cease this civil war, and, whilst I live,
To honour me as thy king and sovereign;
And neither by treason nor hostility
To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
York. This oath I willingly take and will
perform. [Coming from the throne.
War. Long live King Henry! Plantagenet,
K. Hen. And long live thou and these thy
York. Now York and Lancaster are recon-
Exe. Accurs'd be he that seeks to make them
foes! [Sennet. The Lords come forward.
York. Farewell, my gracious lord; I'll to my
War. And I'll keep London with my sol-
Norf. And I to Norfolk with my followers.
Mont. And I unto the sea from whence I
came. [Exeunt YORK and his Sons, WAR-
WICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, Soldiers,
K. Hen. And I, with grief and sorrow, to the
Enter QUEEN MARGARET and the PRINCE
Exe. Here comes the queen, whose looks be-
wray her anger;
I'll steal away. [Going.
K. Hen. Exeter, so will I. [Going.
Q. Mar. Nay, go not from me; I will follow
K. Hen. Be patient, gentle queen, and I will
Q. Mar, Who can be patient in such extremes?
Ah! wretched man; would I had died a maid,
And never seen thee, never borne thee son,
Seeing thou hast prov'd so unnatural a father.
Hath he deserv'd to lose his birthright thus?
Hadst thou but lov'd him half so well as I,
Or felt that pain which I did for him once,
Or nourish'd him as I did with my blood,
Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood
Rather than have made that savage duke thine
And disinherited thine only son.
Prince. Father, you cannot disinherit me:
If you be king, why should not I succeed?
K. Hen. Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me,
The Earl of Warwick, and the duke, enforc'd
Q. Mar. Enforc'd thee! art thou king, and
wilt be forc'd?
I shame to hear thee speak. Ah! timorous
Thou hast undone thyself, thy son, and me;
And given unto the house of York such head
As thou shalt reign but by their sufferance.
To entail him and his heirs unto the crown,
What is it but to make thy sepulchre,
And creep into it far before thy time?
Warwick is chancellor and the Lord of Calais;
Stern Faulconbridge commands the narrow seas;
The duke is made protector of the realm;
And yet shalt thou be safe? such safety finds
The trembling lamb environed with wolves.
Had I been there, which am a silly woman,
The soldiers should have tossed me on their
Before I would have granted to that act;
But thou preferr'st thy life before thine honour:
And seeing thou dost, I here divorce myself,
Both from thy table. Henry, and thy bed,
Until that act of parliament be repeal'd
Whereby my son is disinherited.
The northern lords that have forsworn thy
Will follow mine, if once they see them spread;
And spread they shall be, to thy foul disgrace,
And utter ruin of the house of York.
Thus do I leave thee. Come, son, let's away;
Our army is ready; come, we'll after them.
K. Hen. Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me
Q. Mar. Thou hast spoke too much already:
get thee gone.
K. Hen. Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay
Q. Mar. Ay, to be murder'd by his enemies.
Prince. When I return with victory from the
I'll see your Grace: till then, I'll follow her.
Q. Mar. Come, son, away; we may not linger
thus. [Exeunt QUEEN MARGARET and the
PRINCE OF WALES.
K. Hen. Poor queen! how love to me and to
Hath made her break out into terms of rage.
Reveng'd may she be on that hateful duke,
Whose haughty spirit, winged with desire,
Will cost my crown, and like an empty eagle
Tire on the flesh of me and of my son!
The loss of those three lords torments my heart:
I'll write unto them, and entreat them fair.
Come, cousin; you shall be the messenger.
Exe. And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.