William Shakespeare's Second 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 > Second Part of King Henry the Sixth > Act V. Scene I.

Second Part of King Henry the Sixth

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

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

Act V. Scene I.

Act V. Scene I.—Kent. Fields between
Dartford and Blackheath.

The KING'S camp on one side. On the other,
enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum
and colours.

York. From Ireland thus comes York to
claim his right,
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and
To entertain great England's lawful king.
Ah sancta majestas, who would not buy thee
Let them obey that know not how to rule;
This hand was made to handle nought but gold:
I cannot give due action to my words,
Except a sword, or sceptre balance it.
A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.

Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb
The king hath sent him, sure: I must dis-
Buck. York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee
York. Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept
thy greeting.
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
Buck. A messenger from Henry, our dread
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
Or why thou,—being a subject as I am,—
Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
Shouldst raise so great a. power without his
Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
York. [Aside.] Scarce can I speak, my choler
is so great:
O! I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
I am so angry at these abject terms;
And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
I am far better born than is the king,
More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts;
But I must make fair weather yet awhile,
Till Henry be more weak, and I more strong.
[Aloud.] Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
That I have given no answer all this while;
My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
The cause why I have brought this army hither
Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
Seditious to his Grace and to the state.
Buck. That is too much presumption on thy
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand;
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
York. Upon thine honour, is he a prisoner?
Buck. Upon mine honour, he is a prisoner.
York. Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my
Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;
Meet me to-morrow in Saint George's field,
You shall have pay, and everything you wish,
And let my sov'reign, virtuous Henry,
Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
As pledges of my fealty and love;
I'll send them all as willing as I live:
Lands, goods, horse, armour, anything I have
Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
Buck. York, I commend this kind submission:
We twain will go into his highness' tent.

Enter KING HENRY, attended.
K. Hen. Buckingham, doth York intend no
harm to us,
That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
York. In all submission and humility
York doth present himself unto your highness.
K. Hen. Then what intend these forces thou
dost bring?
York. To have the traitor Somerset from
And fight against that monstrous rebel, Cade,
Who since I heard to be discomfited.

Enter IDEN, with CADE'S head.
Iden. If one so rude and of so mean condi-
May pass into the presence of a king,
Lo! I present your Grace a traitor's head,
The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
K. Hen, The head of Cade! Great God, how
just art thou!
O! let me view his visage, being dead,
That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew
Iden. I was, an't like your majesty.
K. Hen. How art thou call'd, and what is thy
Iden. Alexander Iden, that's my name;
A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king:
Buck. So please it you, my lord, 'twere not
He were created knight for his good service.
K. Hen. Iden, kneel down. [He kneels.] Rise
up a knight.
We give thee for reward a thousand marks;
And will, that thou henceforth attend on us.
Iden. May Iden live to merit such a bounty,
And never live but true unto his liege!
K. Hen. See! Buckingham! Somerset comes
with the queen:
Go, bid her bide him quickly from the duke.

Q. Mar. For thousand Yorks he shall not
hide his head,
But boldly stand and front him to his face.
York. How now! is Somerset at liberty?
Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd
And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
King did I call thee? no, thou art not king;
Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
Which dar'st not, no, nor canst not rule a
That head of thine doth not become a crown;
Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff,
And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
That gold must round engirt these brows of
Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
Is able with the change to kill and cure.
Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up,
And with the same to act controlling laws.
Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more
O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
Som. O monstrous traitor:—I arrest thee,
Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown.
Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
York. Wouldst have me kneel? first let me
ask of these
If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail:
[Exit an Attendant.
I know ere they will have me go to ward,
They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchise-
Q. Mar. Call hither Clifford; bid him come
To say if that the bastard boys of York
Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
York. O blood-bespotted Neapolitan,
Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!
The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those
That for my surety will refuse the boys!

AGENET, with Forces at one side; at the other,
with Forces also. Old CLIFFORD and his Son.
See where they come: I'll warrant they'll make
it good,
Q. Mar. And here comes Clifford, to deny
their bail.
Clif. [Kneeling.] Health and all happiness to
my lord the king!
York. I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news
with thee?
Nay, do not fright us with an angry look:
We are thy sov'reign, Clifford, kneel again;
For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
Clif. This is my king, York, I do not mistake;
But thou mistak'st me much to think I do.
To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?
K. Hen. Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambi-
tious humour
Makes him oppose himself against his king.
Clif. He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,
And chop away that factious pate of his.
Q. Mar. He is arrested, but will not obey:
His sons, he says shall give their words for him.
York. Will you not, sons?
Edw. Ay, noble father, if our words will
Rich. And if words will not, then our wea-
pons shall.
Clif. Why, what a brood of traitors have we
York. Look in a glass, and call thy image so:
I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.
Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
That with the very shaking of their chains
They may astonish these fell-lurking curs:
Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.

with Forces.
Clif. Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy
bears to death,
And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
If thou dar'st bring them to the halting-place.
Rich. Oft have I seen a hot o'erweening cur
Run back and bite, because he was withheld;
Who, being suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,
Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs, and cried:
And such a piece of service will you do,
If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
Clif. Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
York. Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly
Clif. Take heed, lest by your heat you burn
K. Hen. Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot
to bow?
Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!
What! wilt thou on thy death-bed play the
And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
O! where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
If it be banish'd from the frosty head,
Where shall it find a Iiarbour in the earth?
Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
And shame thine honourable age with blood?
Why art thou old, and want'st experience?;
Of wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me,
That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
Sal. My lord, I have consider'd with myself
The title of this most renowned duke;
And in my conscience do repute his Grace
The rightful heir to England's royal seat.
K. Hen. Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto
Sal. I have.
K. Hen. Canst thou dispense with heaven for
such an oath?
Sal. It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
Who can be bound by any solemn vow
To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
To wring the widow from her custom'd right,
And have no other reason for this wrong
But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
Q. Mar. A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
K. Hen. Call Buckingham, and bid him arm
York. Call Buckingham, and all the friends
thou hast,
I am resolv'd for death, or dignity.
Clif. The first I promise thee, if dreams prove
War. You were best to go to bed and dream
To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
Clif. I am resolv'd to bear a greater storm
Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
And that I'll write upon thy burgonet,
Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
War. Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's
The rampant bear chained to the ragged staff,
This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,—
As on a mountain-top the cedar shows,
That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,—
Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
Clif. And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy
And tread it underfoot with all contempt,
Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear.
Y. Clif. And so to arms, victorious father,
To quell the rebels and their complices.
Rich. Fie! charity! for shame! speak not
in spite,
For you shall sup with Jesu Christ to-night.
Y. Clif. Foul stigmatio, that's more than
thou can'st tell.
Rich. It not in heaven, you'll surely sup in
hell. [Exeunt severally.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards