William Shakespeare: Henry VI (Pt 3), Act I, Scene III
Alarums. Enter Rutland and his Tutor
Enter Clifford and Soldiers
Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life. As for the brat of this accursed duke, Whose father slew my father, he shall die.
Exit, dragged off by Soldiers
So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch That trembles under his devouring paws; And so he walks, insulting o'er his prey, And so he comes, to rend his limbs asunder. Ah, gentle Clifford, kill me with thy sword, And not with such a cruel threatening look. Sweet Clifford, hear me speak before I die. I am too mean a subject for thy wrath: Be thou revenged on men, and let me live.
In vain thou speak'st, poor boy; my father's blood Hath stopp'd the passage where thy words should enter.
Had thy brethren here, their lives and thine Were not revenge sufficient for me; No, if I digg'd up thy forefathers' graves And hung their rotten coffins up in chains, It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart. The sight of any of the house of York Is as a fury to torment my soul; And till I root out their accursed line And leave not one alive, I live in hell. Therefore—
Lifting his hand
But 'twas ere I was born. Thou hast one son; for his sake pity me, Lest in revenge thereof, sith God is just, He be as miserably slain as I. Ah, let me live in prison all my days; And when I give occasion of offence, Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause.