Scene III.A Field of Battle between Towton
and Saxton, in Yorkshire.
Alarums: Excursions. Enter WARWICK.
War. Forspent with toil, as runners with a
I lay me down a little while to breathe;
For strokes receiv'd, and many blows repaid,
Have robb'd my strong-knit sinews of their
And spite of spite needs must I rest a while.
Enter EDWARD, running.
Edw. Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle
For this world frowns, and Edward's sun is
War. How now, my lord! what hap? what
hope of good?
Geo. Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair,
Our ranks are broke, and ruin follows us.
What counsel give you? whither shall we fly?
Edw. Bootless is flight, they follow us with
And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.
Rich. Ah! Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn
Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,
Broach'd with the steely point of Clifford's lance;
And, in the very pangs of death he cried,
Like to a dismal danger heard from far,
'Warwick, revenge! brother, revenge my death!'
So, underneath the belly of their steeds,
That stain'd their fetlocks in his smoking blood,
The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.
War. Then let the earth be drunken with our
I'll kill my horse because I will not fly.
Why stand we like soft-hearted women here,
Wailing our losses, whiles the foe doth rage;
And look upon, as if the tragedy
Were play'd in jest by counterfeiting actors?
Here on my knee I vow to God above,
I'll never pause again, never stand still
Till either death hath clos'd these eyes of mine,
Or fortune given me measure of revenge.
Edw. O Warwick! I do bend my knee with
And in this vow do chain my soul to thine.
And, ere my knee rise from the earth's cold
I throw my hands, mine eyes, my heart to thee,
Thou setter up and plucker down of kings,
Beseeching thee, if with thy will it stands
That to my foes this body must be prey,
Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ope,
And give sweet passage to my sinful soul!
Now, lords, take leave until we meet again,
Where'er it be, in heaven or in earth.
Rich. Brother, give me thy hand; and, gentle
Let me embrace thee in my weary arms:
I, that did never weep, now melt with woe
That winter should cut off our spring-time so.
War. Away, away! Once more, sweet lords,
Geo. Yet let us all together to our troops,
And give them leave to fly that will not stay,
And call them pillars that will stand to us;
And, if we thrive promise them such rewards
As victors wear at the Olympian games.
This may plant courage in their quailing breasts;
For yet is hope of life and victory.
Forslow no longer; make we hence amain.