William Shakespeare: Henry VI (Pt 2), Act V
Enter York, and his army of Irish, with drum and colours
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 bright, To entertain great England's lawful king. Ah! sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear? Let them obey that know not how to rule; This hand was made to handle naught 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 me? The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble.
A messenger from Henry, our dread liege, 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, Should raise so great a power without his leave, Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
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 a while, Till Henry be more weak and I more strong,— 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.
That is too much presumption on thy part: But if thy arms be to no other end, The king hath yielded unto thy demand: The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers. Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves; Meet me to-morrow in St. George's field, You shall have pay and every thing you wish. And let my sovereign, 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, any thing I have, Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
Enter King Henry VI and Attendants
Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us, That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
To heave the traitor Somerset from hence, And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade, Who since I heard to be discomfited.
Enter Iden, with Cade's head
If one so rude and of so mean condition 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.
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 him?
Iden, kneel down.
Rise up a knight. We give thee for reward a thousand marks, And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
Enter Queen Margaret and Somerset
See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with the queen: Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.
For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head, But boldly stand and front him to his face.
How now! is Somerset at liberty? Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd thoughts, 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 darest not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor. 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 mine, 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.
O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York, Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown; Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
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;
I know, ere they will have me go to ward, They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
Call hither Clifford! bid him come amain, To say if that the bastard boys of York Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
O blood-besotted 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!
Enter Edward and Richard
See where they come: I'll warrant they'll make it good.
Enter Clifford and Young Clifford
I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee? Nay, do not fright us with an angry look; We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again; For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
This is my king, York, I do not mistake; But thou mistakest me much to think I do: To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?
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.
Enter the Warwick and Salisbury
Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death. And manacle the bear-ward in their chains, If thou darest bring them to the baiting place.
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.
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 ruffian, 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 harbour 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? Or 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.
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.
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?
I am resolved 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.
Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest, The rampant bear chain'd 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.
And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear And tread it under foot with all contempt, Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear.