William Shakespeare's Third Part of King Henry the Sixth in the complete original text.
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Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

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Act III. Scene II.

Scene II.—London. A Room in the Palace.


K. Edw. Brother of Gloucester, at Saint Al-
ban's field
This lady's husband. Sir John Grey, was slain,
His lands then seiz'd on by the conqueror:
Her suit is now, to repossess those lands;
Which we in justice cannot well deny,
Because in quarrel of the house of York
The worthy gentleman did lose his life.
Glo. Your highness shall do well to grant her
It were dishonour to deny it her.
K. Edw. It were no less; but yet I'll make a
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] Yea; is it so?
I see the lady hath a thing to grant
Before the king will grant her humble suit.
Clar. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] He knows the
game: how true he keeps the wind!
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] Silence!
K. Edw. Widow, we will consider of your
And come some other time to know our mind.
L. Grey. Right gracious lord, I cannot brook
May it please your highness to resolve me now,
And what your pleasure is shall satisfy me.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] Ay, widow? then
I'll warrant you all your lands,
An if what pleases him shall pleasure you,
Fight closer, or, good faith, you'll catch a blow.
Clar. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] I fear her not,
unless she chance to fall.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] God forbid that!
for hell take vantages.
K. Edw. How many children hast thou,
widow? tell me.
Clar. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] I think he
means to beg a child of her.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] Nay, whip me,
then; he'll rather give her two.
L. Grey. Three/my most gracious lord.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] You shall have
four, if you'll be rul'd by him.
K. Edw. 'Twere pity they should lose their
father's lands.
L. Grey. Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it
K. Edw. Lords, give us leave: I'll try this
widow's wit.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] Ay, good leave have
you; for you will have leave,
Till youth take leave and leave you to the
crutch. [Retiring with CLARENCE.
K. Edw. Now, tell me, madam, do you love
your children?
L. Grey. Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.
K. Edw. And would you not do much to do
them good?
L. Grey. To do them good I would sustain
some harm.
K. Edw. Then get your husband's lands, to
do them good.
L. Grey. Therefore I came unto your majesty.
K. Edw. I'll tell you how these lands are to
be got.
L. Grey. So shall you bind me to your high-
ness' service.
K. Edw. What service wilt thou do me, if I
give them?
L. Grey. What you command, that rests in
me to do.
K. Edw. But you will take exceptions to my
L. Grey. No, gracious lord, except I cannot
K. Edw. Ay, but thou canst do what I mean
to ask.
L. Grey. Why, then I will do what your Grace
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] He plies her hard;
and much rain wears the marble.
Clar. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] As red as fire!
nay, then her wax must melt.
L. Grey. Why stops my lord? shall I not
hear my task?
K. Edw. An easy task: 'tis but to love a king.
L. Grey. That's soon perform'd, because I am
a subject.
K. Edw. Why then, thy husband's lands I
freely give thee.
L. Grey. I take my leave with many thousand
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] The match is made;
she seais it with a curtsy.
K. Edw. But stay thee; 'tis the fruits of love
I mean.
L. Grey. The fruits of love I mean, my loving
K. Edw. Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense.
What love think'st thou I sue so much to get?
L. Grey. My love till death, my humble thanks,
my prayers:
That love which virtue begs and virtue grants.
K. Edw. No, by my troth, I did not mean
such love.
L. Grey. Why, then you mean not as I thought
you did.
K. Edw. But now you partly may perceive
my mind.
L. Grey. My mind will never grant what I
Your highness aims at, if I aim aright.
K. Edw. To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with
L. Grey. To tell you plain, I had rather lie
in prison.
K. Edw. Why, then thou shalt not have thy
husband's lands.
L. Grey. Why, then mine honesty shall be
my dower;
For by that loss I will not purchase them.
K. Edw. Therein thou wrong'st thy children
L. Grey. Herein your highness wrongs both
them and me.
But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
Accords not with the sadness of my suit:
Please you dismiss me, either with 'ay,' or 'no.'
K. Edw. Ay, if thou wilt say 'ay' to my re-
No, if thou dost say 'no' to my demand.
L. Grey. Then, no, my lord. My suit is at
an end.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] The widow likes
him not, she knits her brows.
Clar. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] He is the blunt-
est wooer in Christendom.
K. Edw. [Aside.] Her looks do argue her re-
plete with modesty;
Her words do show her wit incomparable;
All her perfections challenge sovereignty:
One way or other, she is for a king;
And She shall be my love, or else my queen.
Say that King Edward take thee for his queen?
L. Grey. 'Tis better said than done, my gra-
cious lord:
I am a subject fit to jest withal,
But far unfit to be a sovereign.
K. Edw. Sweet widow, by my state I swear
to thee,
I speak no more than what my soul intends;
And that is, to enjoy thee for my love.
L. Grey. And that is more than I will yield
I know I am too mean to be your queen,
And yet too good to be your concubine.
K. Edw. You cavil, widow: I did mean, my
L. Grey. 'Twill grieve your Grace my sons
should call you father.
K. Edw. No more than when my daughters
call thee mother.
Thou art a widow, and thou hast some chil-
And, by God's mother, I, being but a bachelor,
Have other some: why, 'tis a happy thing
To be the father unto many sons.
Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.
Glo. [Aside to CLARENCE.] The ghostly father
now hath done his shrift.
Clar. [Aside to GLOUCESTER.] When he was
made a shriver, 'twas for shift.
K. Edw, Brothers, you muse what chat we
two have had.
Glo. The widow likes it not, for she looks
very sad.
K. Edw. You'd think it strange if I should
marry her.
Clar. To whom, my lord?
K. Edw. Why, Clarence, to myself,
Glo. That would be ten days' wonder at the
Clar. That's a day longer than a wonder lasts.
Glo. By so much is the wonder in extremes.
K. Edw. Well, jest on, brothers: I can tell
you both
Her suit is granted for her husband's lands.

Enter a Nobleman.
Nob. My gracious lord, Henry your foe is
And brought as prisoner to your palace gate.
K. Edw. See that he be convey'd unto the
And go we, brothers, to the man that took him,
To question of his apprehension.
Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honour-
ably. [Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER.
Glo. Ay, Edward will use women honour-
Would he were wasted, marrow, bones, and all,
That from his loins no hopeful branch may
To cross me from the golden time I look for!
And yet, between my soul's desire and me—
The lustful Edward's title buried,—
Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,
And all the unlook'd for issue of their bodies,
To take their rooms, ere I can place myself:
A cold premeditation for my purpose!
Why then, I do but dream of sovereignty;
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye;
And chides the sea that sunders him from
Saying, he'll lade it dry to have his way:
So do I wish the crown, being so far off,
And so I chide the means that keep me from it,
And so I say I'll cut the causes off,
Flattering me with impossibilities.
My eye's too quick, my heart o'erweens too much,
Unless my hand and strength could equal them.
Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard;
What other pleasure can the world afford?
I'll make my heaven in a lady's lap,
And deck my body in gay ornaments,
And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
O miserable thought! and more unlikely
Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns.
Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb:
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe,
To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick'd bear-whelp
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be belov'd?
O monstrous fault! to harbour such a thought.
Then, since this earth affords no joy to me
But to command, to check, to o'erbear such
As are of better person than myself,
I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown;
And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell,
Until my mis-shap'd trunk that bears this head
Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
And yet I know not how to get the crown,
For many lives stand between me and home:
And I, like one lost in a thorny wood,
That rents the thorns and is rent with the
Seeking a way and straying from the way;
Not knowing how to find the open air,
But toiling desperately to find it out,
Torment myself to catch the English crown:
And from that torment I will free myself,
Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile,
And cry, 'Content,' to that which grieves my
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murd'rous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut! were it further off, I'll pluck it down.
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