List iconHenry VI, Part 3List icon

Henry VI, Part 3
Act 2, scene 5

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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 5
Alarum. Enter King Henry alone, wearing the red rose.

KING HENRY 
 This battle fares like to the morning’s war,
 When dying clouds contend with growing light,
 What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
 Can neither call it perfect day nor night.
5 Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea
 Forced by the tide to combat with the wind;
 Now sways it that way, like the selfsame sea
 Forced to retire by fury of the wind.
 Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind;
10 Now one the better, then another best,
 Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
 Yet neither conqueror nor conquerèd.
 So is the equal poise of this fell war.
 Here on this molehill will I sit me down.
He sits on a small prominence.
15 To whom God will, there be the victory;
 For Margaret my queen and Clifford too
 Have chid me from the battle, swearing both
 They prosper best of all when I am thence.
 Would I were dead, if God’s good will were so,
20 For what is in this world but grief and woe?
 O God! Methinks it were a happy life

95
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 5

 To be no better than a homely swain,
 To sit upon a hill as I do now,
 To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
25 Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
 How many makes the hour full complete,
 How many hours brings about the day,
 How many days will finish up the year,
 How many years a mortal man may live.
30 When this is known, then to divide the times:
 So many hours must I tend my flock,
 So many hours must I take my rest,
 So many hours must I contemplate,
 So many hours must I sport myself,
35 So many days my ewes have been with young,
 So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean,
 So many years ere I shall shear the fleece;
 So minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
 Passed over to the end they were created,
40 Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
 Ah, what a life were this! How sweet, how lovely!
 Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
 To shepherds looking on their silly sheep
 Than doth a rich embroidered canopy
45 To kings that fear their subjects’ treachery?
 O yes, it doth, a thousandfold it doth.
 And to conclude, the shepherd’s homely curds,
 His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,
 His wonted sleep under a fresh tree’s shade,
50 All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
 Is far beyond a prince’s delicates—
 His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
 His body couchèd in a curious bed—
 When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.

Alarum. Enter at one door a Son that hath killed his
Father, carrying the body.



97
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 5

SON 
55 Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
 This man, whom hand to hand I slew in fight,
 May be possessèd with some store of crowns,
 And I, that haply take them from him now,
 May yet ere night yield both my life and them
60 To some man else, as this dead man doth me.
 Who’s this? O God! It is my father’s face,
 Whom in this conflict I unwares have killed.
 O heavy times, begetting such events!
 From London by the King was I pressed forth.
65 My father, being the Earl of Warwick’s man,
 Came on the part of York, pressed by his master.
 And I, who at his hands received my life,
 Have by my hands of life bereavèd him.
 Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did;
70 And pardon, father, for I knew not thee.
 My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks,
 And no more words till they have flowed their fill.
He weeps.
KING HENRY 
 O piteous spectacle! O bloody times!
 Whiles lions war and battle for their dens,
75 Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.
 Weep, wretched man. I’ll aid thee tear for tear,
 And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,
 Be blind with tears and break, o’ercharged with grief.

Enter at another door a Father that hath killed his Son,
bearing of his Son’s body.


FATHER 
 Thou that so stoutly hath resisted me,
80 Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold,
 For I have bought it with an hundred blows.
 But let me see: is this our foeman’s face?
 Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son!

99
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 5

 Ah, boy, if any life be left in thee,
85 Throw up thine eye! See, see, what showers arise,
 Blown with the windy tempest of my heart
 Upon thy wounds, that kills mine eye and heart!
 O, pity God this miserable age!
 What stratagems, how fell, how butcherly,
90 Erroneous, mutinous, and unnatural
 This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!
 O, boy, thy father gave thee life too soon,
 And hath bereft thee of thy life too late!
KING HENRY 
 Woe above woe, grief more than common grief!
95 O, that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
 O pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!
 The red rose and the white are on his face,
 The fatal colors of our striving houses;
 The one his purple blood right well resembles,
100 The other his pale cheeks methinks presenteth.
 Wither one rose and let the other flourish;
 If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.
SON 
 How will my mother for a father’s death
 Take on with me and ne’er be satisfied!
FATHER 
105 How will my wife for slaughter of my son
 Shed seas of tears and ne’er be satisfied!
KING HENRY 
 How will the country for these woeful chances
 Misthink the King and not be satisfied!
SON 
 Was ever son so rued a father’s death?
FATHER 
110 Was ever father so bemoaned his son?
KING HENRY 
 Was ever king so grieved for subjects’ woe?
 Much is your sorrow, mine ten times so much.

101
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 5

SON 
 I’ll bear thee hence, where I may weep my fill.
He exits, bearing the body.
FATHER 
 These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet;
115 My heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulcher,
 For from my heart thine image ne’er shall go.
 My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell;
 And so obsequious will thy father be
 E’en for the loss of thee, having no more,
120 As Priam was for all his valiant sons.
 I’ll bear thee hence, and let them fight that will,
 For I have murdered where I should not kill.
He exits, bearing the body.
KING HENRY 
 Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,
 Here sits a king more woeful than you are.

Alarums. Excursions. Enter Queen Margaret, Prince
Edward, and Exeter, all wearing the red rose.


PRINCE EDWARD 
125 Fly, father, fly, for all your friends are fled,
 And Warwick rages like a chafèd bull.
 Away, for Death doth hold us in pursuit.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Mount you, my lord; towards Berwick post amain.
 Edward and Richard, like a brace of greyhounds
130 Having the fearful flying hare in sight,
 With fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath
 And bloody steel grasped in their ireful hands,
 Are at our backs, and therefore hence amain.
EXETER 
 Away, for Vengeance comes along with them.
135 Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed;
 Or else come after; I’ll away before.

103
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 2. SC. 6

KING HENRY 
 Nay, take me with thee, good sweet Exeter;
 Not that I fear to stay, but love to go
 Whither the Queen intends. Forward, away!
They exit.