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* Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak. ‘By many hands your father was subdued; “But only slaughtered by the ireful arm “Of unrelenting Clifford and the queen: ‘Who crowned the gracious duke in high despite; ‘Laughed in his face; and, when with grief he wept, ‘The ruthless queen gave him, to dry his cheeks, “A napkin steeped in the harmless blood “Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain. “And, after many scorns, many foul taunts, ‘They took his head, and on the gates of York * They set the same ; and there it doth remain, “The saddest spectacle that e'er I viewed. Edw. Sweet duke of York, our prop to lean upon; * Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay — * O Clifford, boisterous Clifford, thou hast slain *The flower of Europe for his chivalry; * And treacherously hast thou vanquished him, * For, hand to hand, he would have vanquished thee!— Now my soul’s palace is become a prison; Ah, would she break from hence that this my body * Might in the ground be closed up in rest. ‘For never henceforth shall I joy again, “Never, O never, shall I see more joy. ‘Rich. I cannot weep; for all my body’s moisture Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart. * Nor can my tongue unload my heart’s great burden; * For self-same wind, that I should speak withal, * Is kindling coals, that fire all my breast, * And burn me up with flames that tears would quench. *To weep, is to make less the depth of grief. * Tears, then, for babes; blows and revenge, for me !— ‘Richard, I bear thy name, Pll venge thy death, “Or die renowned by attempting it. Edw. His name that valiant duke hath left with thee; * His dukedom and his chair with me is left. Rich. Nay, if thou be that princely eagle's bird, Show thy descent by gazing 'gainst the sun; For chair and dukedom, throne and kingdom say; Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.
March. Enter WARwick and MonTAGUE, with Forces."
War. How now, fair lords P What fare P what . news abroad P * Rich. Great lord of Warwick, if we should recount Our baleful news, and, at each word’s deliverance, Stab poniards in our flesh till all were told, The words would add more anguish than the wounds. O valiant lord, the duke of York is slain. Edw. O, Warwick! Warwick! that Plantagenet, Which held thee dearly, as his soul’s redemption, Is by the stern lord Clifford done to death. War. Ten days ago I drowned these news in tears; And now, to add more measure to your woes, I come to tell you things since then befallen. After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought, Where your brave father breathed his latest gasp, Tidings, as swiftly as the posts could run, Were brought me of your loss, and his depart. I then in London, keeper of the king, Mustered my soldiers, gathered flocks of friends, And very well appointed, as I thought, Marched towards Saint Albans to intercept the queen, Bearing the king in my behalf along; For by my scouts I was advértised, That she was coming with a full intent To dash our late decree in parliament, • Touching king Henry’s oath, and your succession. Short tale to make, -we at Saint Albans met, Our battles joined, and both sides fiercely fought; But, whether ’twas the coldness of the king, Who looked full gently on his warlike queen, That robbed my soldiers of their hated spleen; Or whether ’twas report of her success; Or more than common fear of Clifford’s rigor, : Who thunders to his captives—blood and death, I cannot judge; but, to conclude with truth,
1 This meeting was at Chipping Norton, according to W. Wyrcester p. 488.
Their weapons like to lightning came and went;
1 The ages of the duke of York's children will show how far historic truth is departed from in the present play. The battle of Wakefield was fought on the 29th of December, 1460, when Edward was in his nineteenth year, Rutland in his eighteenth, George of York, afterwards duke of Clarence, in his twelfth, and Richard only in his ninth year.
* This circumstance is not warranted by history. Clarence and Gloster as they were afterwards created) were sent into Flanders immediately after the battle of Wakefield, and did not return until their brother Edward had got possession of the crown. The duchess of Burgundy was not their aunt, but a third cousin.
And he that throws not up his cap for joy, * Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head. King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague, Stay we no longer dreaming of renown, “But sound the trumpets, and about our task. * Rich. Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel, * (As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds,) * I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine. * Edw. Then strike up, drums;–God, and saint George, for us!
Enter a Messenger.
War. How now P what news P Mess. The duke of Norfolk sends you word by me, The queen is coming with a puissant host; And craves your company for speedy counsel. War. Why then it sorts," brave warriors. Let’s away. [Eveunt.
SCENE II. Before York.
Enter KING HENRy, QUEEN MARGARET, the PRINCE of WALEs, CLIFFoRD and NoFTHUMBERLAND, with Forces.
Q. Mar. Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of
Yonder’s the head of that arch enemy,
‘ K. Hen. Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear
To see this sight, it irks my very soul.—
Clif My gracious liege, this too much lenity,
1 Why, then, things are as they should be; it falls out right.