List iconHenry VI, Part 3List icon

Henry VI, Part 3
Act 2, scene 1

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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 1
A march. Enter Edward, Richard, and their power,
all wearing the white rose.


EDWARD 
 I wonder how our princely father scaped,
 Or whether he be scaped away or no
 From Clifford’s and Northumberland’s pursuit.
 Had he been ta’en, we should have heard the news;
5 Had he been slain, we should have heard the news;
 Or had he scaped, methinks we should have heard
 The happy tidings of his good escape.
 How fares my brother? Why is he so sad?
RICHARD 
 I cannot joy until I be resolved
10 Where our right valiant father is become.
 I saw him in the battle range about
 And watched him how he singled Clifford forth.
 Methought he bore him in the thickest troop
 As doth a lion in a herd of neat,
15 Or as a bear encompassed round with dogs,
 Who having pinched a few and made them cry,
 The rest stand all aloof and bark at him;
 So fared our father with his enemies;
 So fled his enemies my warlike father.
20 Methinks ’tis prize enough to be his son.
 See how the morning opes her golden gates
59

61
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 1

 And takes her farewell of the glorious sun.
 How well resembles it the prime of youth,
 Trimmed like a younker, prancing to his love!
EDWARD 
25 Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
RICHARD 
 Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun,
 Not separated with the racking clouds
 But severed in a pale clear-shining sky.
 See, see, they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,
30 As if they vowed some league inviolable.
 Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun;
 In this, the heaven figures some event.
EDWARD 
 ’Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
 I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
35 That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
 Each one already blazing by our meeds,
 Should notwithstanding join our lights together
 And overshine the earth, as this the world.
 Whate’er it bodes, henceforward will I bear
40 Upon my target three fair shining suns.
RICHARD 
 Nay, bear three daughters: by your leave I speak it,
 You love the breeder better than the male.

Enter a Messenger, blowing.

 But what art thou whose heavy looks foretell
 Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue?
MESSENGER 
45 Ah, one that was a woeful looker-on
 Whenas the noble Duke of York was slain,
 Your princely father and my loving lord.
EDWARD 
 O, speak no more, for I have heard too much!
63
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 1


RICHARD 
 Say how he died, for I will hear it all.
MESSENGER 
50 Environèd he was with many foes,
 And stood against them, as the hope of Troy
 Against the Greeks that would have entered Troy.
 But Hercules himself must yield to odds;
 And many strokes, though with a little axe,
55 Hews down and fells 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,
60 Laughed in his face; and when with grief he wept,
 The ruthless queen gave him to dry his cheeks
 A napkin steepèd in the harmless blood
 Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain.
 And after many scorns, many foul taunts,
65 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.He exits.
EDWARD 
 Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon,
 Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay.
70 O Clifford, boist’rous 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;
75 Ah, would she break from hence, that this my body
 Might in the ground be closèd up in rest,
 For never henceforth shall I joy again.
 Never, O never, shall I see more joy!He weeps.
RICHARD 
 I cannot weep, for all my body’s moisture
80 Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart;

65
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Nor can my tongue unload my heart’s great burden,
 For selfsame wind that I should speak withal
 Is kindling coals that fires all my breast
 And burns me up with flames that tears would
85 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. I’ll venge thy death
 Or die renownèd by attempting it.
EDWARD 
90 His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
 His dukedom and his chair with me is left.
RICHARD 
 Nay, if thou be that princely eagle’s bird,
 Show thy descent by gazing ’gainst the sun;
 For “chair” and “dukedom,” “throne” and
95 “kingdom” say;
 Either that is thine or else thou wert not his.

March. Enter Warwick, Marquess Montague, and their
army, all wearing the white rose.


WARWICK 
 How now, fair lords? What fare, what news abroad?
RICHARD 
 Great lord of Warwick, if we should recount
 Our baleful news, and at each word’s deliverance
100 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.
EDWARD 
 O Warwick, Warwick, that Plantagenet
 Which held thee dearly as his soul’s redemption
105 Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.
WARWICK 
 Ten days ago I drowned these news in tears.
 And now to add more measure to your woes,

67
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 1

 I come to tell you things sith then befall’n.
 After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought,
110 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,
115 Marched toward Saint Albans to intercept the
 Queen,
 Bearing the King in my behalf along;
 For by my scouts I was advertisèd
 That she was coming with a full intent
120 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,
125 Who looked full gently on his warlike queen,
 That robbed my soldiers of their heated 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,
130 I cannot judge; but to conclude with truth,
 Their weapons like to lightning came and went;
 Our soldiers’, like the night owl’s lazy flight
 Or like an idle thresher with a flail,
 Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends.
135 I cheered them up with justice of our cause,
 With promise of high pay and great rewards,
 But all in vain; they had no heart to fight,
 And we, in them, no hope to win the day,
 So that we fled: the King unto the Queen;
140 Lord George your brother, Norfolk, and myself
 In haste, posthaste, are come to join with you;
 For in the Marches here we heard you were,
 Making another head to fight again.

69
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 1

EDWARD 
 Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick?
145 And when came George from Burgundy to England?
WARWICK 
 Some six miles off the Duke is with the soldiers,
 And, for your brother, he was lately sent
 From your kind aunt, Duchess of Burgundy,
 With aid of soldiers to this needful war.
RICHARD 
150 ’Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled.
 Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
 But ne’er till now his scandal of retire.
WARWICK 
 Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear?
 For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine
155 Can pluck the diadem from faint Henry’s head
 And wring the awful scepter from his fist,
 Were he as famous and as bold in war
 As he is famed for mildness, peace, and prayer.
RICHARD 
 I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame me not.
160 ’Tis love I bear thy glories make me speak.
 But in this troublous time, what’s to be done?
 Shall we go throw away our coats of steel
 And wrap our bodies in black mourning gowns,
 Numb’ring our Ave Marys with our beads?
165 Or shall we on the helmets of our foes
 Tell our devotion with revengeful arms?
 If for the last, say “Ay,” and to it, lords.
WARWICK 
 Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out,
 And therefore comes my brother Montague.
170 Attend me, lords: the proud insulting queen,
 With Clifford and the haught Northumberland
 And of their feather many more proud birds,
 Have wrought the easy-melting king like wax.

71
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 1

 He swore consent to your succession,
175 His oath enrollèd in the Parliament.
 And now to London all the crew are gone
 To frustrate both his oath and what beside
 May make against the house of Lancaster.
 Their power, I think, is thirty thousand strong.
180 Now, if the help of Norfolk and myself,
 With all the friends that thou, brave Earl of March,
 Amongst the loving Welshmen canst procure,
 Will but amount to five and twenty thousand,
 Why, via, to London will we march,
185 And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
 And once again cry “Charge!” upon our foes,
 But never once again turn back and fly.
RICHARD 
 Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak.
 Ne’er may he live to see a sunshine day
190 That cries “Retire!” if Warwick bid him stay.
EDWARD 
 Lord Warwick, on thy shoulder will I lean,
 And when thou fail’st—as God forbid the hour!—
 Must Edward fall, which peril heaven forfend.
WARWICK 
 No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York;
195 The next degree is England’s royal throne:
 For King of England shalt thou be proclaimed
 In every borough as we pass along,
 And he that throws not up his cap for joy
 Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head.
200 King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
 Stay we no longer dreaming of renown,
 But sound the trumpets and about our task.
RICHARD 
 Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel,
 As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds,
205 I come to pierce it or to give thee mine.

73
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

EDWARD 
 Then strike up drums! God and Saint George for us!

Enter a Messenger.

WARWICK How now, what news?
MESSENGER 
 The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me,
 The Queen is coming with a puissant host,
210 And craves your company for speedy counsel.
WARWICK 
 Why, then it sorts. Brave warriors, let’s away!
They all exit.