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KING HENRY VI
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE.
THE action of this play comprehends a period of sixteen years. It commences with the events immediately suc ceeding the disastrous battle of St. Alban's, 1455, and concludes with the murder of King Henry VI. and the birth of Prince Edward, (afterwards Edward V.) 1471. Dr. Johnson says, "Of these three plays, I think the second the best. The truth is, they have not sufficient variety of action, for the incidents are too often of the same kind; yet many of the characters are well discriminated. King Henry and bis queen, Kisf F.dward, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Earl of Warwick, are very strongly and distinctly painted.”.
EARL OF OXFORD,
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND,
KING HENRY THE SIXTH.
DUKE OF SOMERSET,
DUKE OF EXETER,
Lords on King
RICHARD PLANTAGENET, Duke of York.
RICHARD, afterwards Duke of
DUKE OF NORFOLK,
LARL OF WARWICK,
Of the Duke of
SCENE I.-London -The Parliament-
War. I wonder how the king escap'd our hands.
Soldiers, and other attendants on King Hen-
SCENE, during part of the third Act, in France; during all the rest of the Play, in England.
York. Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not? Exe. My conscience tells me he is lawful king. K. Hen. All will revolt from me, and turn to him.
North. Plantagenet, for all the claim thou
lay'st, Think not that Henry shall be so depos'd. War. Depos'd he shall be, in despite of all. North. Thou art deceiv'd: 'tis not thy southern power,
Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
Cf. King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
K. Hen. O Clifford, how thy words revive my
York. Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown :What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords ? War. Do right unto this princely duke of York;
Or I will fill the house with armed men,
He stamps and the Soldiers show them-
K. Hen. My lord of Warwick, hear me but one word;
Let me, for this my life-time, reign as king.
War. What good is this to England and himself?
West. Base, fearful, and despairing Henry! Clif. How hast thou injur'd both thyself and us ?
• Le. Detrimental to the general rights of hereditary royalty.
West. I cannot stay to hear these articles. North. Nor I.
Clif. Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these
West. Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides. North. Be thou a prey unto the house of York,
And die in bands for this unmanly deed!
Or live in peace, abandon'd and despis'd!
[Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, CLIFFORD, and WESTMORELAND.
War. Turn this way, Henry, and regard them
Eae. They seek revenge, and therefore wil not yield.
K. Hen. Ah! Exeter :
War. Why should you sigh, my lord!
K. Hen. Not for myself, lord Warwick, but my son, Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit. But, be it as it may :-I here entail
The crown to thee, and to thine heirs for ever;
Conditionally, that here thon take an oath
K. Hen. Aud long live thou, and these thy forward sons!
York. Now York and Lancaster are recon
Exe, Accurs'd be he that seeks to mase them foes!
[Senet. The Lords come forward. York. Farewell, my gracious lord; I'll to my castle.
War. And I'll keep Loudon, with my sel diers.
Norf. And I to Norfolk, with my followers. Mont. And I unto the sea, from whence I
[Excunt YORK, and his Sons, WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, Soldiers, and Attendants.
K. Hen. And I with grief and sorrow to the
Enter Queen MARGARET and the Prince of
Exe. Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray • her anger :
I'll steal away.
K. Hen. Exeter, so will L.
man! 'would I had died a
[Going. Q. Mar. Nay, go not from me, I will follow thee. K. Hen. Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay. Q. Mar. Who can be patient in such extremes ? Ah! wretched maid, And never seen thee, never borne thee son, Seeing thou hast prov'd so unnatural a father! Hath he deserv'd to lose his birthright thus ↑ Hadst thou but lov'd him half so well as 1; Or felt that pain which I did for him once; Or nourish'd him, as I did with my blood; Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there, Rather than made that savage duke thine heir, And disinherited thine only son.
Hath made her break out into terms of rage!
I'll write unto them, and entreat them fair!Come, cousin, you shall be the messenger.
Exe. And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all. [Exeunt. SCENE II-A Room in Sandal Castle, near Wakefield, in Yorkshire. Enter EDWARD, PICHARD, and MONTAGUE. Rich. Brother, though I be youngest, give
Edie. No, I can better play the orator. Mont. But I have reasons strong and forcible.
The crown of England, father, which is your's. York. Mine, boy? not till king Henry be dead.
Rich. Your right depends not on his life, or death.
Edw. Now you are heir, therefore enjoy it now: By giving the house of Lancaster leave to breathe,
It will outrun you, father, in the end.
York. I took an oath, that he should quietly reign.
Edw. But, for a kingdom, any oath may be broken:
I'd break a thousand oaths to reign one year. Rich. No; God forbid, your grace should be forsworn.
York. I shall be, if I claim by open war. Rich. I'll prove the contrary, if you'll hear me speak.
York. Thou canst not, son; it is impossible. Rich. An oath is of no moment, being not
Before a true and lawful magistrate,
Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous.
Brother, thou shalt to London presently,
In them I trust; for they are soldiers,
But that I seek occasion how to rise; And yet the king not privy to my drift, Nor any of the house of Lancaster?
Enter a MESSENGER.
But, stay; What news? Why com'st thou in such post?
Mess. The queen, with all the northern carls and lords,
Intend here to besiege you in your castle :
[Exit. Enter Sir JOHN and Sir HUCH MORTIMER. York. Sir John, and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles,
You are come to Sandal in a happy hour:
• Of sonad judgment.
Enter CLIFFORD, and Soldiers. Clif. Chaplain, away! thy priesthood thy life.
| Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.
As for the brat of this accursed duke,
Lest thou be hated both of God and man.
[Exit, forced off by Soldiers. Clif. How now! is he dead already? Or, is
That makes him close his eyes ?-I'll open
Rut. So looks the pent-up lion o'er the
That trembles under his devouring paws :
Like men born to renown, by life, or death. saves Three times did Richard make a laue to me; And thrice cried,-Courage, jather! fight it
And full as oft came Edward to my side,
Clif. Soldiers, away with him.
Tat. Ah! Clifford, murder not this innocent Richard cried,-Charge! and give no jost of
And cried,-A crown, or else a glorious tomb!
Clif. In vain thou speak'st, poor boy; my father's blood
Hath stopp'd the passage where thy words should enter.
Rut. Then let my father's blood open it
He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.
Were not revenge sufficient for me;
Cf. Such pity as my rapier's point affords.
Clif. Thy father hath.
Rut. But 'twas ere I was born.
Clif. Plantagenet! I come, Plantagenet!