List iconHenry VI, Part 3List icon

Henry VI, Part 3
Act 5, 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
Flourish. March. Enter Queen Margaret,
young Prince Edward, Somerset, Oxford,
and Soldiers, all wearing the red rose.


QUEEN MARGARET 
 Great lords, wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss
 But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
 What though the mast be now blown overboard,
 The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
5 And half our sailors swallowed in the flood?
 Yet lives our pilot still. Is ’t meet that he
 Should leave the helm and, like a fearful lad,

231
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 5. SC. 4

 With tearful eyes add water to the sea
 And give more strength to that which hath too much,
10 Whiles in his moan the ship splits on the rock,
 Which industry and courage might have saved?
 Ah, what a shame, ah, what a fault were this!
 Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
 And Montague our topmast; what of him?
15 Our slaughtered friends the tackles; what of these?
 Why, is not Oxford here another anchor?
 And Somerset another goodly mast?
 The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
 And, though unskillful, why not Ned and I
20 For once allowed the skillful pilot’s charge?
 We will not from the helm to sit and weep,
 But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,
 From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wrack.
 As good to chide the waves as speak them fair.
25 And what is Edward but a ruthless sea?
 What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit?
 And Richard but a ragged fatal rock—
 All these the enemies to our poor bark?
 Say you can swim: alas, ’tis but awhile;
30 Tread on the sand: why, there you quickly sink;
 Bestride the rock: the tide will wash you off
 Or else you famish; that’s a threefold death.
 This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
 If case some one of you would fly from us,
35 That there’s no hoped-for mercy with the brothers
 More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks.
 Why, courage then! What cannot be avoided
 ’Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
PRINCE EDWARD 
 Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit
40 Should, if a coward heard her speak these words,
 Infuse his breast with magnanimity
 And make him, naked, foil a man-at-arms.

233
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 5. SC. 4

 I speak not this as doubting any here,
 For did I but suspect a fearful man,
45 He should have leave to go away betimes,
 Lest in our need he might infect another
 And make him of like spirit to himself.
 If any such be here, as God forbid,
 Let him depart before we need his help.
OXFORD 
50 Women and children of so high a courage,
 And warriors faint? Why, ’twere perpetual shame!
 O, brave young prince, thy famous grandfather
 Doth live again in thee. Long mayst thou live
 To bear his image and renew his glories!
SOMERSET 
55 And he that will not fight for such a hope,
 Go home to bed and, like the owl by day,
 If he arise, be mocked and wondered at.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Thanks, gentle Somerset.—Sweet Oxford, thanks.
PRINCE EDWARD 
 And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER 
60 Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand,
 Ready to fight. Therefore be resolute.He exits.
OXFORD 
 I thought no less. It is his policy
 To haste thus fast to find us unprovided.
SOMERSET 
 But he’s deceived. We are in readiness.
QUEEN MARGARET 
65 This cheers my heart to see your forwardness.
OXFORD 
 Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.

235
Henry VI, Part 3
ACT 5. SC. 5

Flourish, and march. Enter King Edward, Richard,
Clarence, and Soldiers, all wearing the white rose.


KING EDWARD, to his army 
 Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood
 Which by the heavens’ assistance and your strength
 Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
70 I need not add more fuel to your fire,
 For, well I wot, you blaze to burn them out.
 Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!
QUEEN MARGARET, to her army 
 Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say
 My tears gainsay, for every word I speak
75 You see I drink the water of my eye.
 Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your sovereign,
 Is prisoner to the foe, his state usurped,
 His realm a slaughterhouse, his subjects slain,
 His statutes cancelled and his treasure spent,
80 And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
 You fight in justice. Then, in God’s name, lords,
 Be valiant, and give signal to the fight!
Alarum, retreat, excursions. They exit.