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Enter Soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD. * K. Edw. Bring forth the gallant, let us hear him

speak: * What! can so young a thorn begin to prick?

Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make,
For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects,
* And all the trouble thou hast turn'd me to 3?
Prince. Speak like a subject, proud ambitious

Suppose, that I am now my

father's mouth;
Resign thy chair, and, where I stand, kneel thou,
Whilst I propose the self-same words to thee,
Which, traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.
Q. Mar. Ah, that thy father had been so resolv'd!

Glo. That you might still have worn the petticoat, And ne'er have stol'n the breech from Lancaster.

Prince. Let Æsop* fable in a winter's night; His currish riddles sort not with this place.

Glo. By heaven, brat, I'll plague you for that word. Q. Mar. Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men. Glo. For God's sake, take


this captive scold. Prince. Nay, take away this scolding crook-back

rather. K. Edw. Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm

your tongue. Clar. Untutor'd lad, thou art too malapert.

Prince. I know my duty, you are all undutiful: Lascivious Edward, and thou perjur'd George, And thou misshapen Dick, I tell ye all, I am your better, traitors as ye are:* And thou usurp'st my father's right and mine. 3 We have nearly the same words in The Tempest:

O, my heart bleeds, To think of the teen that I have turn'd you to.' 4 The prince calls Richard Æsop for his crookedness; and the poet following nature makes Richard highly incensed at the reproach.

See King Henry VI. Part II. Activ. Sc. 1, p. 213, note 10.


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K. Edw. Take that, the likeness of this railer here 6.

[Stabs him. * Glo. Sprawl'st thou ? take that, to end thy agony.

[Glo. stabs him. * Cla. And there's for twitting me with perjury.

[CLA. stabs him. Q. Mar. O, kill me too! Glo. Marry, and shall. [Offers to kill her. K. Edw. Hold, Richard, hold, for we have

done too much. Glo. Why should she live, to fill the world with

words7 ? K. Edw. What! doth she swoon? use means for

her recovery Glo. Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother: « I'll hence to London on a serious matter: · Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.

Clar. What? what?
Glo. The Tower, the Tower!

[Exit. Q. Mar. 0, Ned, sweet Ned! speak to thy mo

ther, boy! • Canst thou not speak ?–0 traitors! murderers !They, that stabb’d Cæsar, shed no blood at all, Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame, * If this foul deed were by, to equal it.

He was a man; this, in respect, a child; And men ne'er spend their fury on a child. - What's

's worse than murderer, that I may name it? * No, no; my heart will burst, an if I speak;* And I will speak, that so my heart may burst.

6 That is, “thou who art the likeness,' &c. The old copies describe Edward as striking the first blow, and Gloster the next; and this is according to history, which informs us that Edward smote the prince with his gauntlet, on which the rest dispatched him.

7 i. e, dispate, contention. Thus in one of the former parts of King Henry VI.:

Some words there grew 'twixt Somerset and me.'

* Butchers and villains, bloody cannibals! * How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp’d! • You have no children, butchers ! if you hado, • The thought of them would have stirr'd

up remorse : - But, if you ever chance to have a child, Look in his youth to have him so cut off. • As, deathsmen! you have rido this sweet young

prince! K. Edw. Away with her; go, bear her hence

perforce. Q. Mar. Nay, never bear me hence, despatch me

here; Here sheath thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death: What! wilt thou not?-then, Clarence, do it thou.

Clar. By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease. Q. Mar. Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do

thou do it. Clar. Didst thou not hear me swear, I would not

do it? Q. Mar. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself; 'Twas sin before 10, but now ’tis charity.

What! wilt thou not? where is that devil's butcher, Hard-favour'd Richard? Richard, where art thou? Thou art not here: Murder is thy alms-deed; Petitioners for blood thou ne'er put’st back.

K.Edw. Away, I say; I chargeye, bear her hence. Q. Mar. So come to you, and yours, as to this prince!

[Exit, led out forcibly. K. Edw. Where's Richard gone?

Clar. To London, all in post; and, as I guess, To make a bloody supper in the Tower.

K. Edw. He's sudden, if a thing comes in his head. 8 The same sentiment is repeated by Macduff in the tragedy of Macbeth; and this passage may serve as a comment on that.

9 To rid is to cut off, to destroy. Thus Caliban, in The Tempest, says:— The red plague rid you.'

10 She alludes to the desertion of Clarence. VOL. VI.


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* Now march we hence: discharge the common sort « With


and thanks, and let's away to London, • And see our gentle queen how well she fares; By this, I hope, she hath a son for me. [Exeunt.

SCENE VI. London.

A Room in the Tower.

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King HENRY is discovered sitting with a Book in

his Hand, the Lieutenant attending. Enter Glos


Glo. Good day, my lord! What, at your book

so hard ? K. Hen. Ay, my good lord: My lord, I should

say rather; 'Tis sin to flatter, good was little better : Good Gloster, and good devil, were alike, And both preposterous; therefore, not good lord. * Glo. Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer.

[Exit Lieutenant. * K. Hen. So flies the reckless shepherd from

the wolf: * So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece, * And next his throat unto the butcher's knife.What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?

Glo. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

K. Hen. The bird, that hath been limed in a bush,
With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush:
And I, the hapless male” to one sweet bird,
Have now the fatal object in my eye,

my poor young was lim’d, was caught, and

kill'd. Glo. Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete, 1 To misdoubt is to suspect danger, to fear.

2 The word male is here used in an uncommon sense, for the male parent: the sweet bird is evidently his son Prince Edward.

3 Peevish, in the language of our ancestors, was used to signify mad or foolish. See note on Comedy of Errors, Act iv. Sc. 1.

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• That taught his son the office of a fowl? • And yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown'd.

*K. Hen. I, Dædalus; my poor boy, Icarus; Thy father, Minos, that denied our course; • The sun, that seard the wings of my sweet boy, • Thy brother Edward; and thyself, the sea, • Whose envious gulf did swallow up

his life. Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words! . My breast can better brook thy dagger's point, Than can my ears that tragick history.* But wherefore dost thou come? is't for my

life? Glo. Think'st thou, I am an executioner?

K. Hen. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art;
• If murdering innocents be executing,
Why, then thou art an executioner.

Glo. Thy son I kill’d for his presumption.
K. Hen. Hadst thou been kill’d, when first thou

didst presume, Thou hadst not liv'd to kill a son of mine. • And thus I prophecy,—that many a thousand, • Which now mistrust no parcel * of my fear; ! And many an old man's sigh, and many a widow's, • And many an orphan's water-standing eye,• Men for their sons, wives for their husbands' fate, . And orphans for their parents' timeless death,— • Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born. The owl shriek'd at thy birth, an evil sign; • The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time; Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempests shook down trees; The raven rook'd' her on the chimney's top, And chattering pies in dismal discords sung.

4 Who suspect no part of what my fears presage.

3 To rook, or ruck, is to cower down like a bird at roost or on its nest. The word is of very ancient use in our language. We find it in Chaucer, and in Gower's Confessio Amantis :

* But now they rucken in her nest.' Stanyhurst, in his translation of Virgil, 1582, book iv.:

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