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That sought to be encompass’d with your crown:
Doth not the object cheer your heart, my
[mariner. [K. Henry.] Cheer it? Ay me! as rocks the storm-toss’d
It is a sight that irks my very soul.
Withhold revenge, O God! nor to my fault
Impute a deed my Christian vows abjure.
Clifford advances and speaks :
[Clifford.] My gracious liege, this too much lenity
And harmful pity must be laid aside.
To whom do lions cast their gentle looks ?
Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick ?
Not his that spoils her young before her face.
Who scapes the lurking serpent's mortal sting ?
Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
The smallest worm will turn, bei'ng trodden on;
And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
Ambitious York did level at thy crown,
Thou smiling, while he knit his angry brow:
He, but a duke, would have his son a king,
And raise his issue like a loving sire;-
Thou, being a king, bless’d with a goodly son,
Didst yield consent to disinherit him ;
Which argued thee a most unloving father.
Who hath not seen unreasonable creatures,
Although man's face be fearful to their eyes,
Yet in protection of their tender ones,
Who hath not seen them, even with those wings,
Which sometimes they have us’d in fearful flight,
Make war with them that climb'd unto their nests,
Offering their own lives in their young's defence ?
For shame, my liege, make them your precedent.
Were it not pity that this goodly boy
Should lose his birthright by his father's fault;
And long hereafter say unto his child,
What my great grandfather and grandsire got,
My careless father fondly gave away?”.
Ah, what a shame were this! Look on the boy;
And let the manly promise of his face
Make stern thy soul; and steel thy melting-heart,
To hold thine own, and leave thine own to him. [K. Henry.] Clifford, full well you play the orator :
But tell me, Clifford, didst thou never hear
That things ill got had ever bad success.
I 'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
And would my father had left me no more ;
For all the rest is held at such a rate,
As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep
Than in possession any jot of pleasure.
A messenger enters, and speaks :
[Messenger.] Royal commanders, be in readiness :
For, with a band of thirty thousand men,
Comes Warwick backing Edward duke of York ;
Whom in the towns he hath proclaimed king.
Prepare your battle; for they are at hand. The king's army is instantly put in motion toward a field between Towton and Saxton. We will keep aloof from the thick of the combat, retiring to a neighbouring field, whence we may, in imagination, catch a view of the battle. To this place King Henry is come ; and here you are to suppose
he meditates on the scene before him : [K. Henry.] This battle fares like to the morning's war,
When dying clouds contend with growing light,
What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
Can call it neither perfect day, nor night.
like a mighty sea,
Forc'd by the tide to combat with the wind :
Now sways it that way,
like the self-same sea,
Forc'd to retire by fury of the wind :
Sometimes the flood prevails, and then the wind,
Now one the better, then the other best :-
So is the equal poise of this fell war;
Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
Yet neither conqueror, and neither conquerd.
To whom God will, there be the victory!
Here on this molehill will I sit me down;
For Margaret my queen, and Clifford too,
Have chid me from the battle ; both averring
They prosper best in fight when I am thence.
Would I were dead, if God's good will were so !
For what is in this world but woe and grief ?
O heaven! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain ;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run ;
How many of them make the hour complete,
How many hours will bring about the day,
How many days will finish
many years a mortal man may live. When this is known, then to divide the times; So many
hours that I must tend my flock;
So many hours that I must take my rest;
So many hours to contemplation set;
So many hours that I may sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks, ere the poor fools will yean ;
many years ere I shall sheer the fleece:
So minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months, and years,
Pass'd over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah! what a life were this! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings that fear their subjects' treachery ?
Oh yes, it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.
Yea, far more sweet the shepherd's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leathern bottle,
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and safely he enjoys ;
Far sweeter than the prince's delicacies,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
His pillow smooth'd upon a curious bed,
With care, mistrust, and treason, waiting round.
A young soldier, who has killed his opposite in the battle, drags in the body to despoil it of treasure, and finds he has killed his father :- not far from this sight, which Henry witnesses, another meets his eye :-a man advanced in life drags in a youth, and, in searching for gold, discovers that he has killed his son: the king joins in their lamentations :
Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
Oh! that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
Oh, pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!
The fatal colours of our striving houses,
Alas! are on their hands and in their cheeks.
Weep, wretched men; I'll aid you tear for tear :
For this be sure, sad-hearted as you are,
Here sits a king more woful still than you. At this moment, the chiefs and others of his party enter in flight, and hurry the king from the spot. They have scarcely quitted, when Edward, George, and Richard, the sons of the late duke of York, accompanied by Warwick and other noblemen of that party, come from the opposite side : Edward speaks : [Edw.] Now breathe we, lords; good fortune bids us pause.
Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen.
Think you, my lords, that Clifford fled this way? [Warwick.] No, 'tis impossible he has escap'd.
Your brother Richard mark'd him for the grave;
And, wheresoe'er he is, he's surely dead. [Richard.] Yes, Warwick ; Clifford's dead; but, by my soul,
If this right hand could buy him two hours' life,
In which to deal with him, as he did deal
With York and Rutland, - I would chop it off. [Warwick.] From off the gates of York let there be fetch'd
Your father's head, and in its place fix Clifford's.
And now to London with triumphant march,
Where Edward shall be crowned England's king.
From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France,
And ask the Lady Bona for thy queen ;
So it shall please my lord.
[Edward.] Even as thou wilt:
For, Warwick, 'tis by thee my seat is built,
And never will I undertake the thing
Wherein thy counsel and consent are wanting.
Richard, I will create thee duke of Gloster,
And George, of Clarence :-Warwick, as ourself,
Shall do and undo, as him pleaseth best.
And so, my lords, with joyful hearts, to London.
THE CHARACTERS OF EDWARD, GEORGE, AND RICHARD, SURVIVING
SONS OF THE DUKE OF YORK, AS AMONG THE CAUSES OF THE
VARIOUS FORTUNE OF THE ENGLISH CROWN, FROM THE FIRST As-
SUMPTION OF IT BY EDWARD, TO THE DEATH OF HENRY VI.;
INDICATED BY SCENES SUPPOSED TO OCCUR AT THE PALACE IN
LONDON; ON THE WALLS OF COVENTRY; IN THE FIELD AT
TEWKESBURY ; AND IN THE TOWER OF LONDON.
Edward IV. was declared king in 1461 : Henry VI, died in the Tower, supposed to be murdered by Duke Richard, in 1471. The intervening facts are of a troubled and confused kind, and the immediate motives of the several actors often difficult to trace. The leading facts are in the following order. After the battle of Towton, Henry and his queen Aed to Scotland. She obtained succours in that kingdom, and also in France, whither she went to solicit them in person. On her return was fought the battle of Hexham, in Northumberland, which took place in May, 1464. Edward was the victor; and Margaret and her son, at that time ten years old, after experiencing the protection of some robbers in a forest, on whose generosity she had thrown herself, escaped to France. Henry, flying in a different direetion, was eventually captured, and placed in the Tower. The amorous Edward, soon after this, fixed his affections on Lady Elizabeth Grey, and married her ; by which he disgusted Warwick, who was at the French court, endeavouring to bring about an alliance between him and the lady Bona, sister of Lewis XI. ; and Warwick determined henceforward to take part with the Lancastrians. Insurrections in the north of England, and a number of barbarous executions, continued to keep up the spirit of civil strife ; till Warwick concluded an agreement with Margaret, then at the French court, and cemented it by betrothing his second daughter, Anne, to prince Edward, who had by this time nearly entered his seventeenth year. His eldest daughter he married to George duke