William Shakespeare's Third Part of King Henry the Sixth in the complete original text.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > Third Part of King Henry the Sixth > Act V. Scene IV.

Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

Study Guides
Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Macbeth
Merchant of Venice
Othello
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Trivia
Authorship
Bard Facts
Bibliography
Biography
FAQ
Films
Globe Theatre
Pictures
Quiz
Timeline

Act V. Scene IV.

Scene IV.—Plains near Tewksbury.

March. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE
EDWARD, SOMERSET, OXFORD, and Soldiers.

Q. Mar. Great lords, wise men ne'er sit and
wail their loss,
But cheerly yeek how to redress their harms.
What though the mast be now blown over-board,
The cable broke, the holding anchor lost,
And half our sailors swallow'd in the flood?
Yet lives our pilot still: is't meet that he
Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad
With tearful eyes add water to the sea,
And give more strength to that which hath too
much;
Whiles in his moan the ship splits on the rock,
Which industry and courage might have sav'd?
Ah! what a shame! ah, what a fault were this.
Say, Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
And Montague our top-mast; what of him?
Our slaughter'd friends the tackles; what of
these?
Why, is not Oxford here another anchor?
And Somerset, another goodly mast?
The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I
For once allow'd the skilful pilot's charge?
We will not from the helm, to sit and weep,
But keep our course, though, the rough wind say
no,
From shelves and rocks that threaten us with
wrack.
As good to chide the waves as speak them fair.
And what is Edward but a ruthless sea?
What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit?
And Richard but a ragged fatal rock?
All those the enemies to our poor bark.
Say you can swim; alas! 'tis but a while:
Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink:
Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off,
Or else you famish; that's a threefold death.
This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
In case some one of you would fly from us,
That there's no hop'd-for mercy with the
brothers
More than with ruthless waves, with sands and
rocks.
Why, courage, then! what cannot be avoided
'Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
Prince. Methinks a woman of this valiant
spirit
Should, if a coward heard her speak these
words,
Infuse his breast with magnanimity,
And make him, naked, foil a man at arms.
I speak not this, as doubting any here;
For did I but suspect a fearful man,
He should have leave to go away betimes,
Lest in our need he might infect another,
And make him of like spirit to himself.
If any such be here, as God forbid!
Let him depart before we need his help.
Oxf. Women and children of so high a
courage,
And warriors faint! why, 'twere perpetual
shame.
O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
To bear his image and renew his glories!
Som. And he, that will not fight for such a
hope,
Go home to bed, and, like the owl by day,
If he arise, be mock'd and wonder'd at.
Q. Mar. Thanks, gentle Somerset: sweet
Oxford, thanks.
Prince. And take his thanks that yet hath
nothing else.

Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at
hand,
Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.
Oxf. I thought no less: it is his policy
To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.
Som. But he's deceiv'd; we are in readiness
Q. Mar. This cheers my heart to see your
forwardness.
Oxf. Here pitch our battle; hence we will
not budge.

March. Enter, at a distance, KING EDWARD,
CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, and Forces.
K. Edw. Brave followers, yonder stands the
thorny wood,
Which, by the heavens' assistance, and your
strength,
Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
I need not add more fuel to your fire,
For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out:
Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords.
Q. Mar. Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what
I should say
My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your
sovereign,
Is prisoner to the foe; his state usurp'd,
His realm a slaughter house, his subjects slain,
His statutes cancell'd, and his treasure spent;
And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
You fight in justice; then, in God's name, lords,
Be valiant, and give signal to the fight.
[Exeunt both armies.
< PREVIOUS
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards