List iconHenry VI, Part 3List icon

Henry VI, Part 3
Act 1, scene 4

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The English crown changes hands often in Henry VI, Part 3. At first, Richard, Duke of York, is allied with Warwick….

Act 1, scene 1

Richard, Duke of York, aided by the Earl of Warwick, occupies King Henry VI’s throne. Faced with Warwick’s soldiers, Henry…

Act 1, scene 2

York is persuaded by his sons Edward and Richard to break his oath to Henry and fight for the crown….

Act 1, scene 3

Rutland, youngest son of York, is killed by Lord Clifford as revenge against York, who killed Clifford’s father.

Act 1, scene 4

At the battle of Wakefield, York is captured by the victorious Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, Lord Clifford, and the Earl…

Act 2, scene 1

Edward and Richard receive the news of their father’s death. Warwick then brings news of the Yorkist defeat at St….

Act 2, scene 2

Warwick and the Yorkists confront King Henry, Margaret, the newly knighted Prince Edward, and the other Lancastrians. Both the Lancastrian…

Act 2, scene 3

Warwick retires from the battle and meets Edward, Richard, and George. They all fear defeat, but take their farewells and…

Act 2, scene 4

Richard and Clifford fight. When Warwick enters, Clifford flees. Richard prepares to search for Clifford in order to fight to…

Act 2, scene 5

As the battle of Towton proceeds, King Henry contemplates his unhappy life as king and then observes as a young…

Act 2, scene 6

Lord Clifford enters wounded to the death. Warwick, Edward, Richard, and George find Clifford’s body and taunt him. They prepare…

Act 3, scene 1

King Henry is captured by two gamekeepers, who now owe allegiance to King Edward.

Act 3, scene 2

King Edward, while hearing Lady Grey’s petition for her dead husband’s land, decides he wants her for his mistress; she…

Act 3, scene 3

As Queen Margaret persuades the French king Lewis to support her and Prince Edward, Warwick arrives with the offer of…

Act 4, scene 1

King Edward learns of Warwick’s defection and orders that troops be levied in preparation for war. Clarence decides to join…

Act 4, scene 2

Warwick and Clarence prepare to surprise King Edward, who awaits the French troops in a lightly guarded camp.

Act 4, scene 3

Warwick, Clarence, and their troops capture King Edward, remove his crown, and send him captive to the Archbishop of York….

Act 4, scene 4

King Edward’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, hearing of Edward’s capture, fears for her life and that of her unborn child. She…

Act 4, scene 5

Richard rescues King Edward from his captivity. They prepare to sail to Flanders.

Act 4, scene 6

Warwick rescues King Henry from imprisonment in the Tower of London. Henry turns over the government to Warwick and Clarence.

Act 4, scene 7

Edward, having returned from Flanders with a supporting army, enters the city of York, claiming that he wants only his…

Act 4, scene 8

King Henry, left at the Bishop’s Palace in London while Warwick and other Lancastrian leaders search for additional troops, is…

Act 5, scene 1

At Coventry, Warwick awaits the arrival of Clarence. Other forces arrive in Warwick’s support. King Edward then arrives, and is…

Act 5, scene 2

At the battle of Barnet, King Edward brings in a wounded Warwick and leaves him to his death. Lancastrian lords…

Act 5, scene 3

King Edward, Richard, and Clarence are triumphant after the battle of Barnet, but they know they must now meet Queen…

Act 5, scene 4

Queen Margaret rallies her forces despite Henry’s capture and Warwick’s death. King Edward and his forces enter. The battle of…

Act 5, scene 5

Queen Margaret and other Lancastrian leaders are brought in as captives. King Edward sends out orders to find Prince Edward….

Act 5, scene 6

Richard kills King Henry in the Tower, and then begins to plot his own way to the crown, now that…

Act 5, scene 7

King Edward celebrates the Yorkist triumph by having Richard and Clarence kiss his infant son. Richard, while outwardly loving the…

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Scene 4
Alarum. Enter Richard, Duke of York, wearing the
white rose.


YORK 
 The army of the Queen hath got the field.
 My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;

43
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

 And all my followers to the eager foe
 Turn back and fly like ships before the wind,
5 Or lambs pursued by hunger-starvèd wolves.
 My sons, God knows what hath bechancèd them;
 But this I know: they have demeaned themselves
 Like men borne to renown by life or death.
 Three times did Richard make a lane to me
10 And thrice cried “Courage, father, fight it out!”
 And full as oft came Edward to my side,
 With purple falchion painted to the hilt
 In blood of those that had encountered him;
 And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
15 Richard cried “Charge, and give no foot of ground!”
 And cried “A crown or else a glorious tomb;
 A scepter or an earthly sepulcher!”
 With this we charged again; but, out alas,
 We budged again, as I have seen a swan
20 With bootless labor swim against the tide
 And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
A short alarum within.
 Ah, hark, the fatal followers do pursue,
 And I am faint and cannot fly their fury;
 And were I strong, I would not shun their fury.
25 The sands are numbered that makes up my life.
 Here must I stay, and here my life must end.

Enter Queen Margaret, Clifford, Northumberland,
the young Prince Edward, and Soldiers,
all wearing the red rose.


 Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland,
 I dare your quenchless fury to more rage.
 I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
30 Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
CLIFFORD 
 Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm

45
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

 With downright payment showed unto my father.
 Now Phaëton hath tumbled from his car
 And made an evening at the noontide prick.
YORK 
35 My ashes, as the Phoenix’, may bring forth
 A bird that will revenge upon you all;
 And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
 Scorning whate’er you can afflict me with.
 Why come you not? What, multitudes, and fear?
CLIFFORD 
40 So cowards fight when they can fly no further;
 So doves do peck the falcon’s piercing talons;
 So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
 Breathe out invectives ’gainst the officers.
YORK 
 O Clifford, but bethink thee once again
45 And in thy thought o’errun my former time;
 And, if thou canst for blushing, view this face
 And bite thy tongue that slanders him with cowardice
 Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this.
CLIFFORD 
 I will not bandy with thee word for word,
50 But buckler with thee blows twice two for one.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Hold, valiant Clifford, for a thousand causes
 I would prolong a while the traitor’s life.—
 Wrath makes him deaf; speak thou, Northumberland.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Hold, Clifford, do not honor him so much
55 To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart.
 What valor were it when a cur doth grin
 For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
 When he might spurn him with his foot away?
 It is war’s prize to take all vantages,
60 And ten to one is no impeach of valor.
They attack York.

47
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

CLIFFORD 
 Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 So doth the coney struggle in the net.
YORK 
 So triumph thieves upon their conquered booty;
 So true men yield with robbers, so o’ermatched.
York is overcome.
NORTHUMBERLAND, to Queen Margaret 
65 What would your Grace have done unto him now?
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
 Come, make him stand upon this molehill here
 That raught at mountains with outstretchèd arms,
 Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
They place York on a small prominence.
70 What, was it you that would be England’s king?
 Was ’t you that reveled in our parliament
 And made a preachment of your high descent?
 Where are your mess of sons to back you now,
 The wanton Edward and the lusty George?
75 And where’s that valiant crookback prodigy,
 Dickie, your boy, that with his grumbling voice
 Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
 Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
 Look, York, I stained this napkin with the blood
80 That valiant Clifford with his rapier’s point
 Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
 And if thine eyes can water for his death,
 I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
She gives him a bloody cloth.
 Alas, poor York, but that I hate thee deadly
85 I should lament thy miserable state.
 I prithee grieve to make me merry, York.
 What, hath thy fiery heart so parched thine entrails
 That not a tear can fall for Rutland’s death?

49
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

 Why art thou patient, man? Thou shouldst be mad;
90 And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
 Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
 Thou would’st be fee’d, I see, to make me sport.—
 York cannot speak unless he wear a crown.
 A crown for York!She is handed a paper crown.
95 And, lords, bow low to him.
 Hold you his hands whilst I do set it on.
She puts the crown on York’s head.
 Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king.
 Ay, this is he that took King Henry’s chair,
 And this is he was his adopted heir.
100 But how is it that great Plantagenet
 Is crowned so soon and broke his solemn oath?—
 As I bethink me, you should not be king
 Till our King Henry had shook hands with Death.
 And will you pale your head in Henry’s glory
105 And rob his temples of the diadem
 Now, in his life, against your holy oath?
 O, ’tis a fault too too unpardonable.
 Off with the crown and, with the crown, his head;
 And whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.
CLIFFORD 
110 That is my office, for my father’s sake.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Nay, stay, let’s hear the orisons he makes.
YORK 
 She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of
 France,
 Whose tongue more poisons than the adder’s tooth:
115 How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex
 To triumph like an Amazonian trull
 Upon their woes whom Fortune captivates.
 But that thy face is vizard-like, unchanging,
 Made impudent with use of evil deeds,
120 I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush.

51
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

 To tell thee whence thou cam’st, of whom derived,
 Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not
 shameless.
 Thy father bears the type of King of Naples,
125 Of both the Sicils, and Jerusalem,
 Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
 Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
 It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen,
 Unless the adage must be verified
130 That beggars mounted run their horse to death.
 ’Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud,
 But God He knows thy share thereof is small.
 ’Tis virtue that doth make them most admired;
 The contrary doth make thee wondered at.
135 ’Tis government that makes them seem divine;
 The want thereof makes thee abominable.
 Thou art as opposite to every good
 As the Antipodes are unto us
 Or as the south to the Septentrion.
140 O, tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide,
 How couldst thou drain the lifeblood of the child
 To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
 And yet be seen to bear a woman’s face?
 Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
145 Thou, stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
 Bidd’st thou me rage? Why, now thou hast thy wish.
 Wouldst have me weep? Why, now thou hast thy will;
 For raging wind blows up incessant showers,
 And when the rage allays, the rain begins.
150 These tears are my sweet Rutland’s obsequies,
 And every drop cries vengeance for his death
 ’Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false
 Frenchwoman!
NORTHUMBERLAND, aside 
 Beshrew me, but his passions moves me so
155 That hardly can I check my eyes from tears.

53
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

YORK 
 That face of his the hungry cannibals
 Would not have touched, would not have stained
 with blood;
 But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
160 O, ten times more than tigers of Hyrcania.
 See, ruthless queen, a hapless father’s tears.
 This cloth thou dipped’st in blood of my sweet boy,
 And I with tears do wash the blood away.
He hands her the cloth.
 Keep thou the napkin and go boast of this;
165 And if thou tell’st the heavy story right,
 Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears.
 Yea, even my foes will shed fast-falling tears
 And say “Alas, it was a piteous deed.”
He hands her the paper crown.
 There, take the crown and, with the crown, my
170 curse,
 And in thy need such comfort come to thee
 As now I reap at thy too cruel hand.—
 Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world,
 My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
175 Had he been slaughterman to all my kin,
 I should not for my life but weep with him
 To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 What, weeping ripe, my Lord Northumberland?
 Think but upon the wrong he did us all,
180 And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.
CLIFFORD, stabbing York twice 
 Here’s for my oath; here’s for my father’s death!
QUEEN MARGARET, stabbing York 
 And here’s to right our gentle-hearted king.
YORK 
 Open thy gate of mercy, gracious God.

55
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 1. SC. 4

 My soul flies through these wounds to seek out Thee.
He dies.
QUEEN MARGARET 
185 Off with his head, and set it on York gates,
 So York may overlook the town of York.
Flourish. They exit, Soldiers carrying York’s body.