List iconHenry VI, Part 2:
Act 5, scene 1
List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 5, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

With a weak, unworldly king on the throne, the English nobility heightens its struggle for power in Henry VI, Part 2,…

Act 1, scene 1

King Henry meets his consort Queen Margaret, brought by Suffolk from France. The nobles fall into dissension, with the Cardinal,…

Act 1, scene 2

The Duchess of Gloucester’s dream of becoming queen is rebuked by her husband but encouraged by the treacherous priest John…

Act 1, scene 3

Queen Margaret and Suffolk dismiss petitioners seeking Gloucester’s aid and then conspire against Gloucester. Somerset and York then clash, as…

Act 1, scene 4

The Duchess of Gloucester watches while a spirit is conjured up to prophesy the fates of her rivals, but she…

Act 2, scene 1

King Henry and his court are hunting when they are interrupted by an announcement of a miracle in nearby Saint…

Act 2, scene 2

York persuades Salisbury and Warwick of the validity of his claim to the throne.

Act 2, scene 3

King Henry sentences the Duchess to public penance and exile, and removes Gloucester from his office as Lord Protector. Then…

Act 2, scene 4

Gloucester watches his Duchess’s public humiliation as she goes into exile. He is summoned to Parliament.

Act 3, scene 1

In Parliament Queen Margaret and the nobles level charges against Gloucester, but King Henry remains convinced of his uncle’s innocence….

Act 3, scene 2

The news of Gloucester’s murder makes King Henry faint and the Commons rise to demand Suffolk’s exile. The King obliges…

Act 3, scene 3

The Cardinal dies.

Act 4, scene 1

Attempting to sail to France, Suffolk is captured by shipmen and brutally assassinated.

Act 4, scene 2

In a plot instigated by York, Jack Cade leads a rebellion against King Henry. The Staffords seek to put it…

Act 4, scene 3

Cade defeats and kills the Staffords and marches on London.

Act 4, scene 4

King Henry flees London and Queen Margaret mourns Suffolk’s death. Lord Saye, whom the rebels hate, decides to hide in…

Act 4, scene 5

Citizens of London plead for military aid from Lord Scales, who commands forces at the Tower. He sends Matthew Gough,…

Act 4, scene 6

Cade enters London.

Act 4, scene 7

Cade defeats and kills Gough. Lord Saye is captured and killed.

Act 4, scene 8

Lord Clifford and Buckingham persuade Cade’s followers to return to King Henry. Cade flees.

Act 4, scene 9

As King Henry rejoices at Cade’s defeat, a messenger announces York’s approach with an Irish army ostensibly seeking Somerset’s arrest…

Act 4, scene 10

A starving Cade is killed in a fight with the Kentish gentleman Alexander Iden, in whose garden Cade looked for…

Act 5, scene 1

Buckingham seemingly placates York, and King Henry rewards Iden. York, seeing Somerset at liberty, announces his claim to the throne,…

Act 5, scene 2

York kills Lord Clifford, and York’s son Richard kills the Duke of Somerset. Defeated in battle, King Henry flees to…

Act 5, scene 3

Victorious, York and his followers set out for London.

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Scene 1
Enter York, wearing the white rose, and his army of
Irish, with Attendants, Drum and Colors.

 From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right
 And pluck the crown from feeble Henry’s head.
 Ring, bells, aloud! Burn, bonfires, clear and bright
 To entertain great England’s lawful king!
5 Ah, sancta maiestas, who would not buy thee dear?
 Let them obey that knows not how to rule.
 This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
 I cannot give due action to my words
 Except a sword or scepter balance it.
10 A scepter shall it have, have I a soul,
 On which I’ll toss the fleur-de-luce of France.

Enter Buckingham, wearing the red rose.

 Aside. Whom have we here? Buckingham, to
 disturb me?
 The King hath sent him, sure. I must dissemble.
15 York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
 Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
 Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

 A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
 To know the reason of these arms in peace;
20 Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
 Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
 Should raise so great a power without his leave,
 Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
YORK, aside 
 Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great.
25 O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
 I am so angry at these abject terms!
 And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
 On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
 I am far better born than is the King,
30 More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts.
 But I must make fair weather yet awhile,
 Till Henry be more weak and I more strong.—
 Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
 That I have given no answer all this while.
35 My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
 The cause why I have brought this army hither
 Is to remove proud Somerset from the King,
 Seditious to his Grace and to the state.
 That is too much presumption on thy part.
40 But if thy arms be to no other end,
 The King hath yielded unto thy demand:
 The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
 Upon thine honor, is he prisoner?
 Upon mine honor, he is prisoner.
45 Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.—
 Soldiers, I thank you all. Disperse yourselves.

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Meet me tomorrow in Saint George’s field;
 You shall have pay and everything you wish.
Soldiers exit.
 And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry,
50 Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
 As pledges of my fealty and love;
 I’ll send them all as willing as I live.
 Lands, goods, horse, armor, anything I have
 Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
55 York, I commend this kind submission.
 We twain will go into his Highness’ tent.
They walk arm in arm.

Enter King Henry and Attendants.

 Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us
 That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
 In all submission and humility
60 York doth present himself unto your Highness.
 Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?
 To heave the traitor Somerset from hence
 And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
 Who since I heard to be discomfited.

Enter Iden, with Cade’s head.

65 If one so rude and of so mean condition
 May pass into the presence of a king,
 Lo, I present your Grace a traitor’s head,
 The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
 The head of Cade? Great God, how just art Thou!

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

70 O, let me view his visage, being dead,
 That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
 Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
IDEN I was, an ’t like your Majesty.
 How art thou called? And what is thy degree?
75 Alexander Iden, that’s my name,
 A poor esquire of Kent that loves his king.
 So please it you, my lord, ’twere not amiss
 He were created knight for his good service.
 Iden, kneel down. He kneels. Rise up a knight. He

80 We give thee for reward a thousand marks,
 And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
 May Iden live to merit such a bounty,
 And never live but true unto his liege!

Enter Queen Margaret and Somerset,
wearing the red rose.

KING HENRY, aside to Buckingham 
 See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with th’ Queen.
85 Go bid her hide him quickly from the Duke.
Buckingham whispers to the Queen.
 For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
 But boldly stand and front him to his face.
YORK, aside 
 How now? Is Somerset at liberty?
 Then, York, unloose thy long-imprisoned thoughts,
90 And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
 Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?—
 False king, why hast thou broken faith with me,

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
 “King” did I call thee? No, thou art not king,
95 Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
 Which dar’st not—no, nor canst not—rule a traitor.
 That head of thine doth not become a crown;
 Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer’s staff,
 And not to grace an awful princely scepter.
100 That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
 Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles’ spear,
 Is able with the change to kill and cure.
 Here is a hand to hold a scepter up
 And with the same to act controlling laws.
105 Give place. By heaven, thou shalt rule no more
 O’er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
 O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
 Of capital treason ’gainst the King and crown.
 Obey, audacious traitor. Kneel for grace.
110 Wouldst have me kneel? First let me ask of these
 If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
 To an Attendant. Sirrah, call in my sons to be my
 bail.Attendant exits.
 I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
115 They’ll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
QUEEN MARGARET, to Buckingham 
 Call hither Clifford; bid him come amain,
 To say if that the bastard boys of York
 Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
Buckingham exits.
YORK, to Queen Margaret 
 O, blood-bespotted Neapolitan,
120 Outcast of Naples, England’s bloody scourge!
 The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
 Shall be their father’s bail, and bane to those
 That for my surety will refuse the boys.

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

Enter York’s sons Edward and Richard,
wearing the white rose.

 See where they come; I’ll warrant they’ll make it
125 good.

Enter old Clifford and his Son, wearing the red rose.

 And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.
CLIFFORD, kneeling before King Henry 
 Health and all happiness to my lord the King.
He rises.
 I thank thee, Clifford. Say, what news with thee?
 Nay, do not fright us with an angry look.
130 We are thy sovereign, Clifford; kneel again.
 For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
 This is my king, York; I do not mistake,
 But thou mistakes me much to think I do.—
 To Bedlam with him! Is the man grown mad?
135 Ay, Clifford, a bedlam and ambitious humor
 Makes him oppose himself against his king.
 He is a traitor. Let him to the Tower,
 And chop away that factious pate of his.
 He is arrested, but will not obey.
140 His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
YORK Will you not, sons?
 Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.
 And if words will not, then our weapons shall.
 Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

145 Look in a glass, and call thy image so.
 I am thy king and thou a false-heart traitor.
 Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
 That, with the very shaking of their chains,
 They may astonish these fell-lurking curs.
150 To an Attendant. Bid Salisbury and Warwick come
 to me.Attendant exits.

Enter the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury, wearing the
white rose.

 Are these thy bears? We’ll bait thy bears to death
 And manacle the bearherd in their chains,
 If thou dar’st bring them to the baiting place.
155 Oft have I seen a hot o’erweening cur
 Run back and bite because he was withheld,
 Who, being suffered with the bear’s fell paw,
 Hath clapped his tail between his legs and cried;
 And such a piece of service will you do
160 If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
 Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
 As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
 Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.
 Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.
165 Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?—
 Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
 Thou mad misleader of thy brainsick son!
 What, wilt thou on thy deathbed play the ruffian
 And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
170 O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
Henry VI, Part 2

 If it be banished from the frosty head,
 Where shall it find a harbor in the earth?
 Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
 And shame thine honorable age with blood?
175 Why art thou old and want’st experience?
 Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
 For shame! In duty bend thy knee to me
 That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
 My lord, I have considered with myself
180 The title of this most renownèd duke,
 And in my conscience do repute his Grace
 The rightful heir to England’s royal seat.
 Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
185 Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
 It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
 But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
 Who can be bound by any solemn vow
 To do a murd’rous deed, to rob a man,
190 To force a spotless virgin’s chastity,
 To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
 To wring the widow from her customed right,
 And have no other reason for this wrong
 But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
195 A subtle traitor needs no sophister.
KING HENRY, to an Attendant 
 Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
Attendant exits.
YORK, to King Henry 
 Call Buckingham and all the friends thou hast,
 I am resolved for death or dignity.

Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 5. SC. 1

 The first, I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.
200 You were best to go to bed and dream again,
 To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
 I am resolved to bear a greater storm
 Than any thou canst conjure up today;
 And that I’ll write upon thy burgonet,
205 Might I but know thee by thy house’s badge.
 Now, by my father’s badge, old Neville’s crest,
 The rampant bear chained to the ragged staff,
 This day I’ll wear aloft my burgonet—
 As on a mountaintop the cedar shows
210 That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm—
 Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
 And from thy burgonet I’ll rend thy bear
 And tread it under foot with all contempt,
 Despite the bearherd that protects the bear.
215 And so to arms, victorious father,
 To quell the rebels and their complices.
 Fie! Charity, for shame! Speak not in spite,
 For you shall sup with Jesu Christ tonight.
 Foul stigmatic, that’s more than thou canst tell!
220 If not in heaven, you’ll surely sup in hell.
They exit separately.