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K. Hen. By this time the decisive blow is struck; Either my queen and son are bless'd with victory, Or I'm the cause no more of civil broils. 'Would I were dead, if Heav'n's good will were so; For what is in this world but grief and care What noise and bustle do kings make to find it; When life's but a short chase, our game content, Which, most pursu'd, is most compell'd to fly; And he, that mounts him on the swiftest hope, Shall often run his courser to a stand; While the poor peasant, from some distant hill, Undanger'd and at ease, views all the sport, And sees content take shelter in his cottage. Stanley. He seems extremely mov’d. Lieut. Does he know you? Stanley. No ; nor would I have him. Lieut. We'll show ourselves. [They come forward. K. Hen. Why, there's another check to proud ambition 1 That man received his charge from me, and now I’m his prisoner—he locks me to my rest. Such an unlook'd-for change who could suppose, That saw him kneel to kiss the hand that rais'd him ; But that I should not now complain of, Since I to that, 'tis possible, may owe His civil treatment of me—"Morrow, Lieutenant; Is any news arriv'd –Who's that with you ? Lieut. A gentleman, that came last night express From Tewksbury—We've had a battle. R. Hen. Comes he to me with letters, or advice Lieut. Sir, he's King Edward's officer, your foe. R. Hen. Then he won't flatter me—You're welcome, sir; Not less because you are King Edward's friend, For I have almost learn'd myself to be so;
Could I but once forget I was a king,
I might be truly happy, and his subject.
You've gain’d a battle; is't not so
Stanley. We have, sir, how, will reach your ear
K. Hen. If to my loss, it can't too soon—pray,
For fear makes mischief greater than it is.
My queen' my son I say, sir, are they living f.
Stanley. Since my arrival, sir, another post
Came in, which brought us word, your queen and son
Were prisoners now at Tewksbury.
K. Hen. Heav'n's will be done ! the hunters have
And I have only sighs and prayers to help them
Stanley. King Edward, sir, depends upon his sword,
Yet prays heartily when the battle's won;
And soldiers love a bold and active leader.
Fortune, like women, will be close pursu'd;
The English are high mettled, sir, and 'tis
No easy part to fit them well—King Edward
Feels their temper, and 'twill be hard to throw him.
K. Hen. Alas! I thought them men, and rather
To win their hearts by mildness than severity.
My soul was never form'd for cruelty;
In my eyes, justice has seem'd bloody;
When, on the city gates, I have beheld
A traitor's quarters parching in the sun,
My blood has turn'd with horror at the sight;
I took them down, and bury'd, with his limbs,
The memory of the dead man's deeds—Perhaps
That pity made me look less terrible, -
Giving the mind of weak rebellion spirit;
For kings are put in trust for all mankind,
And whe... themselves take injuries, who is safe 2
If so, I have deserv'd these frowns of fortune.
Offi. Sir, here's a gentleman brings a warrant, For his access to King Henry's presence.
Lieut. I come to him. [Erit, with Officer.
Stanley. His business may require your privacy; I'll leave you, sir, wishing you all the good That can be wish’d—not wronging him I serve. [Erit.
K. Hen. Farewell ! Who can this be! a sudden coldness, Like the damp hand of death, has seiz'd my limbs : I fear some heavy news!
Who is it, good Lieutenant
Lieut. A gentleman, sir, from Tewksbury: he seems
A melancholy messenger—for, when I ask'd
What news, his answer was a deep-fetch'd sigh:
I would not urge him, but I fear 'tis fatal. [Erit.
K. Hen. Fatal indeed his brow's the title-page, That speaks the nature of a tragic volume. Say, friend, how does my queen! my son! Thou tremblest, and the whiteness of thy cheek Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand. Ev’n such a man, so faint, so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so woe begone, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, And would have told him half his Troy was burn'd. But Priam found the fire, ere he his tongue, And I my poor son's death, ere thou relat'st it.
. Now wouldst thou say—your son did thus, and thus,
And thus your queen so fought the valiant Oxford; sh
Stopping my greedy ear with their bold deeds;
But, in the end, (to stop my ear indeed)
Thou hast a sigh, to blow away this praise,
Ending with—queen and son, and all are dead.
Tressel. Your queen yet lives, and many of your
But for my lord, your son -
K. Hen. Why, he is dead!—yet speak, I charge
Tell thou thy master his suspicion lies,
And I will take it as a kind disgrace,
And thank thee well, for doing me such wrong.
Tressel. 'Would it were wrong to say ; but, sir,
your fears are true. ,
K. Hen. Yet for all this, say not my son is dead.
Tressel. Sir, I am sorry I must force you to
Believe, what "would to Heav'n I had not seen .
But in this last battle, near Tewksbury,
Your son, whose active spirit lent a fire,
Ev’n to the dullest peasant in our camp,
Still made his way, where danger stood to oppose
A braver youth, of more courageous heat,
Ne'er spurr'd his courser at the trumpet's sound.
But who can rule the uncertain chance of war *
In fine, King Edward won the bloody field,
Where both your queen and son were made his
K. Hen. Yet hold! for, oh! this prologue lets m
To a most fatal tragedy to come.
Dy'd he a prisoner, say'st thou? how by grief?
Or by the bloody hands of those that caught him *
Tressel. After the fight, Edward, in triumph, ask'd
To see the captive prince—the prince was brought,
Whom Edward roughly chid for bearing arms;
Asking what reparation he could make
For having stirred his subjects to rebellion ?
Your son, impatient of such taunts, reply'd,
Bow like a subject, proud, ambitious Yorks
While I, now speaking with my father's mouth,
Propose the self-same rebel words to thee,
Which, traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to:
From these, more words arose; till, in the end,
King Edward, swell'd with what th' unhappy prince,
At such a time, too freely spoke, his gauntlet
In his young face with indignation struck; -
At which crook'd Richard, Clarence, and the rest,
Bury'd their fatal daggers in his heart.
In bloody state I saw him on the earth,
From whence, with life, he never more sprung up.
K. Hen. Oh! hadst thou stabb'd, at every word's
Sharp poignards in my flesh, while this was told,
Thy wounds had given less anguish than thy, words.
Oh, Heav'ns ! methinks I see my tender lamb
Gasping beneath the ravenous wolves' fell gripe!
But say, did all—did they all strike him, say'st thou?
Tressel. All, sir; but the first wound Duke Richard
K. Hen. There let him stop! be that his last of
ills | - -
Oh, barbarous act! unhospitable men
Against the rigid laws of arms, to kill him!
Was't not enough, his hope of birthright gone,
But must your hate be levell'd at his life?
Nor could his father's wrongs content you?
Nor could a father's grief dissuade the deed
You have no children—butchers, if you had,
The thought of them would sure have stirr'd remorse.
Tressel. Take comfort, sir, and hope a better day.
K. Hen. Oh ! who can hold a fire in his hand,
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus
Or wallow, naked, in December's snow,
By bare remembrance of the summer's heat
Away! by Heaven, I shall abhor his sight,
Whoever bids me be of comfort more