List iconHenry VI, Part 3List icon

Henry VI, Part 3
Act 2, scene 2

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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 2
Flourish. Enter King Henry, Queen Margaret,
Clifford, Northumberland, and young Prince Edward,
all wearing the red rose with Drum and Trumpets,
the head of York fixed above them.


QUEEN MARGARET, to King Henry 
 Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of York.
 Yonder’s the head of that arch-enemy
 That sought to be encompassed with your crown.
 Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?
KING HENRY 
5 Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wrack!
 To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
 Withhold revenge, dear God! ’Tis not my fault,
 Nor wittingly have I infringed my vow.
CLIFFORD 
 My gracious liege, this too much lenity
10 And harmful pity must be laid aside.
 To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
 Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
 Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick?

75
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

 Not his that spoils her young before her face.
15 Who scapes the lurking serpent’s mortal sting?
 Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
 The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on,
 And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
 Ambitious York did level at thy crown,
20 Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows.
 He, but a duke, would have his son a king
 And raise his issue like a loving sire;
 Thou being a king, blest with a goodly son,
 Didst yield consent to disinherit him,
25 Which argued thee a most unloving father.
 Unreasonable creatures feed their young;
 And though man’s face be fearful to their eyes,
 Yet in protection of their tender ones,
 Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
30 Which sometime they have used with fearful flight,
 Make war with him that climbed unto their nest,
 Offering their own lives in their young’s defense?
 For shame, my liege, make them your precedent.
 Were it not pity that this goodly boy
35 Should lose his birthright by his father’s fault,
 And long hereafter say unto his child
 “What my great-grandfather and grandsire got,
 My careless father fondly gave away”?
 Ah, what a shame were this! Look on the boy,
40 And let his manly face, which promiseth
 Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart
 To hold thine own and leave thine own with him.
KING HENRY 
 Full well hath Clifford played the orator,
 Inferring arguments of mighty force.
45 But, Clifford, tell me, didst thou never hear
 That things ill got had ever bad success?
 And happy always was it for that son
 Whose father for his hoarding went to hell?

77
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

 I’ll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind,
50 And would my father had left me no more;
 For all the rest is held at such a rate
 As brings a thousandfold more care to keep
 Than in possession any jot of pleasure.
 Ah, cousin York, would thy best friends did know
55 How it doth grieve me that thy head is here.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 My lord, cheer up your spirits; our foes are nigh,
 And this soft courage makes your followers faint.
 You promised knighthood to our forward son.
 Unsheathe your sword and dub him presently.—
60 Edward, kneel down.He kneels.
KING HENRY, dubbing him knight 
 Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight,
 And learn this lesson: draw thy sword in right.
PRINCE EDWARD, rising 
 My gracious father, by your kingly leave,
 I’ll draw it as apparent to the crown
65 And in that quarrel use it to the death.
CLIFFORD 
 Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER 
 Royal commanders, be in readiness,
 For with a band of thirty thousand men
 Comes Warwick backing of the Duke of York,
70 And in the towns as they do march along
 Proclaims him king, and many fly to him.
 Deraign your battle, for they are at hand.He exits.
CLIFFORD 
 I would your Highness would depart the field.
 The Queen hath best success when you are absent.
QUEEN MARGARET 
75 Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.

79
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

KING HENRY 
 Why, that’s my fortune too; therefore I’ll stay.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
 Be it with resolution, then, to fight.
PRINCE EDWARD 
 My royal father, cheer these noble lords
 And hearten those that fight in your defense.
80 Unsheathe your sword, good father; cry “Saint
 George!”

March. Enter Edward, Warwick, Richard,
George, Norfolk, Montague, and Soldiers,
all wearing the white rose.


EDWARD 
 Now, perjured Henry, wilt thou kneel for grace
 And set thy diadem upon my head,
 Or bide the mortal fortune of the field?
QUEEN MARGARET 
85 Go rate thy minions, proud insulting boy.
 Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms
 Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?
EDWARD 
 I am his king, and he should bow his knee.
 I was adopted heir by his consent.
90 Since when, his oath is broke; for, as I hear,
 You that are king, though he do wear the crown,
 Have caused him, by new act of Parliament,
 To blot out me and put his own son in.
CLIFFORD And reason too:
95 Who should succeed the father but the son?
RICHARD 
 Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak!
CLIFFORD 
 Ay, crookback, here I stand to answer thee,
 Or any he, the proudest of thy sort.

81
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

RICHARD 
 ’Twas you that killed young Rutland, was it not?
CLIFFORD 
100 Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.
RICHARD 
 For God’s sake, lords, give signal to the fight!
WARWICK 
 What sayst thou, Henry? Wilt thou yield the crown?
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Why, how now, long-tongued Warwick, dare you
 speak?
105 When you and I met at Saint Albans last,
 Your legs did better service than your hands.
WARWICK 
 Then ’twas my turn to fly, and now ’tis thine.
CLIFFORD 
 You said so much before, and yet you fled.
WARWICK 
 ’Twas not your valor, Clifford, drove me thence.
NORTHUMBERLAND 
110 No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.
RICHARD 
 Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.—
 Break off the parley, for scarce I can refrain
 The execution of my big-swoll’n heart
 Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.
CLIFFORD 
115 I slew thy father; call’st thou him a child?
RICHARD 
 Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward,
 As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland.
 But ere sunset I’ll make thee curse the deed.
KING HENRY 
 Have done with words, my lords, and hear me
120 speak.

83
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

QUEEN MARGARET 
 Defy them, then, or else hold close thy lips.
KING HENRY 
 I prithee, give no limits to my tongue.
 I am a king and privileged to speak.
CLIFFORD 
 My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
125 Cannot be cured by words; therefore, be still.
RICHARD 
 Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword.
 By Him that made us all, I am resolved
 That Clifford’s manhood lies upon his tongue.
EDWARD 
 Say, Henry, shall I have my right or no?
130 A thousand men have broke their fasts today
 That ne’er shall dine unless thou yield the crown.
WARWICK 
 If thou deny, their blood upon thy head,
 For York in justice puts his armor on.
PRINCE EDWARD 
 If that be right which Warwick says is right,
135 There is no wrong, but everything is right.
RICHARD 
 Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands,
 For well I wot thou hast thy mother’s tongue.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 But thou art neither like thy sire nor dam,
 But like a foul misshapen stigmatic,
140 Marked by the Destinies to be avoided,
 As venom toads or lizards’ dreadful stings.
RICHARD 
 Iron of Naples, hid with English gilt,
 Whose father bears the title of a king,
 As if a channel should be called the sea,

85
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 2

145 Sham’st thou not, knowing whence thou art
 extraught,
 To let thy tongue detect thy baseborn heart?
EDWARD 
 A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns
 To make this shameless callet know herself.—
150 Helen of Greece was fairer far than thou,
 Although thy husband may be Menelaus;
 And ne’er was Agamemnon’s brother wronged
 By that false woman as this king by thee.
 His father reveled in the heart of France,
155 And tamed the King, and made the Dauphin stoop;
 And had he matched according to his state,
 He might have kept that glory to this day.
 But when he took a beggar to his bed
 And graced thy poor sire with his bridal day,
160 Even then that sunshine brewed a shower for him
 That washed his father’s fortunes forth of France
 And heaped sedition on his crown at home.
 For what hath broached this tumult but thy pride?
 Hadst thou been meek, our title still had slept,
165 And we, in pity of the gentle king,
 Had slipped our claim until another age.
GEORGE 
 But when we saw our sunshine made thy spring,
 And that thy summer bred us no increase,
 We set the axe to thy usurping root;
170 And though the edge hath something hit ourselves,
 Yet know thou, since we have begun to strike,
 We’ll never leave till we have hewn thee down
 Or bathed thy growing with our heated bloods.
EDWARD 
 And in this resolution, I defy thee,
175 Not willing any longer conference,
 Since thou denied’st the gentle king to speak.—

87
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Sound, trumpets! Let our bloody colors wave;
 And either victory or else a grave!
QUEEN MARGARET Stay, Edward!
EDWARD 
180 No, wrangling woman, we’ll no longer stay.
 These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.
They all exit.