Act I, Scene 1 London. The Parliament-house.



WARWICK I wonder how the king escaped our hands.
YORK While we pursued the horsemen of the north,
He slily stole away and left his men:
Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,
Cheer'd up the drooping army; and himself,
Lord Clifford and Lord Stafford, all abreast,
Charged our main battle's front, and breaking in
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.
EDWARD Lord Stafford's father, Duke of Buckingham,
Is either slain or wounded dangerously;
I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
That this is true, father, behold his blood.
MONTAGUE And, brother, here's the Earl of Wiltshire's blood,
Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd.
RICHARD Speak thou for me and tell them what I did.
  [Throwing down SOMERSET's head]
YORK Richard hath best deserved of all my sons.
But is your grace dead, my Lord of Somerset?
NORFOLK Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!
RICHARD Thus do I hope to shake King Henry's head.
WARWICK And so do I. Victorious Prince of York,
Before I see thee seated in that throne
Which now the house of Lancaster usurps,
I vow by heaven these eyes shall never close.
This is the palace of the fearful king,
And this the regal seat: possess it, York;
For this is thine and not King Henry's heirs'
YORK Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will;
For hither we have broken in by force.
NORFOLK We'll all assist you; he that flies shall die.
YORK Thanks, gentle Norfolk: stay by me, my lords;
And, soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night.
  [They go up]
WARWICK And when the king comes, offer no violence,
Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.
YORK The queen this day here holds her parliament,
But little thinks we shall be of her council:
By words or blows here let us win our right.
RICHARD Arm'd as we are, let's stay within this house.
WARWICK The bloody parliament shall this be call'd,
Unless Plantagenet, Duke of York, be king,
And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice
Hath made us by-words to our enemies.
YORK Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute;
I mean to take possession of my right.
WARWICK Neither the king, nor he that loves him best,
The proudest he that holds up Lancaster,
Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells.
I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares:
Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.
  [Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, CLIFFORD,
KING HENRY VI My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits,
Even in the chair of state: belike he means,
Back'd by the power of Warwick, that false peer,
To aspire unto the crown and reign as king.
Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father.
And thine, Lord Clifford; and you both have vow'd revenge
On him, his sons, his favourites and his friends.
NORTHUMBERLAND If I be not, heavens be revenged on me!
CLIFFORD The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in steel.
WESTMORELAND What, shall we suffer this? let's pluck him down:
My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.
KING HENRY VI Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmoreland.
CLIFFORD Patience is for poltroons, such as he:
He durst not sit there, had your father lived.
My gracious lord, here in the parliament
Let us assail the family of York.
NORTHUMBERLAND Well hast thou spoken, cousin: be it so.
KING HENRY VI Ah, know you not the city favours them,
And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?
EXETER But when the duke is slain, they'll quickly fly.
KING HENRY VI Far be the thought of this from Henry's heart,
To make a shambles of the parliament-house!
Cousin of Exeter, frowns, words and threats
Shall be the war that Henry means to use.
Thou factious Duke of York, descend my throne,
and kneel for grace and mercy at my feet;
I am thy sovereign.
YORK I am thine.
EXETER For shame, come down: he made thee Duke of York.
YORK 'Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was.
EXETER Thy father was a traitor to the crown.
WARWICK Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
In following this usurping Henry.
CLIFFORD Whom should he follow but his natural king?
WARWICK True, Clifford; and that's Richard Duke of York.
KING HENRY VI And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne?
YORK It must and shall be so: content thyself.
WARWICK Be Duke of Lancaster; let him be king.
WESTMORELAND He is both king and Duke of Lancaster;
And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall maintain.
WARWICK And Warwick shall disprove it. You forget
That we are those which chased you from the field
And slew your fathers, and with colours spread
March'd through the city to the palace gates.
NORTHUMBERLAND Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief;
And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.
WESTMORELAND Plantagenet, of thee and these thy sons,
Thy kinsman and thy friends, I'll have more lives
Than drops of blood were in my father's veins.
CLIFFORD Urge it no more; lest that, instead of words,
I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
As shall revenge his death before I stir.
WARWICK Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worthless threats!
YORK Will you we show our title to the crown?
If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.
KING HENRY VI What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown?
Thy father was, as thou art, Duke of York;
Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March:
I am the son of Henry the Fifth,
Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop
And seized upon their towns and provinces.
WARWICK Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.
KING HENRY VI The lord protector lost it, and not I:
When I was crown'd I was but nine months old.
RICHARD You are old enough now, and yet, methinks, you lose.
Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head.
EDWARD Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.
MONTAGUE Good brother, as thou lovest and honourest arms,
Let's fight it out and not stand cavilling thus.
RICHARD Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will fly.
YORK Sons, peace!
KING HENRY VI Peace, thou! and give King Henry leave to speak.
WARWICK Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him, lords;
And be you silent and attentive too,
For he that interrupts him shall not live.
KING HENRY VI Think'st thou that I will leave my kingly throne,
Wherein my grandsire and my father sat?
No: first shall war unpeople this my realm;
Ay, and their colours, often borne in France,
And now in England to our heart's great sorrow,
Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords?
My title's good, and better far than his.
WARWICK Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.
KING HENRY VI Henry the Fourth by conquest got the crown.
YORK 'Twas by rebellion against his king.
KING HENRY VI [Aside] I know not what to say; my title's weak.--
Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?
YORK What then?
KING HENRY VI An if he may, then am I lawful king;
For Richard, in the view of many lords,
Resign'd the crown to Henry the Fourth,
Whose heir my father was, and I am his.
YORK He rose against him, being his sovereign,
And made him to resign his crown perforce.
WARWICK Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain'd,
Think you 'twere prejudicial to his crown?
EXETER No; for he could not so resign his crown
But that the next heir should succeed and reign.
KING HENRY VI Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter?
EXETER His is the right, and therefore pardon me.
YORK Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?
EXETER My conscience tells me he is lawful king.
KING HENRY VI [Aside] All will revolt from me, and turn to him.
NORTHUMBERLAND Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay'st,
Think not that Henry shall be so deposed.
WARWICK Deposed he shall be, in despite of all.
NORTHUMBERLAND Thou art deceived: 'tis not thy southern power,
Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,
Can set the duke up in despite of me.
CLIFFORD King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence:
May that ground gape and swallow me alive,
Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father!
KING HENRY VI O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart!
YORK Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.
What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?
WARWICK Do right unto this princely Duke of York,
Or I will fill the house with armed men,
And over the chair of state, where now he sits,
Write up his title with usurping blood.
  [He stamps with his foot and the soldiers show
KING HENRY VI My Lord of Warwick, hear me but one word:
Let me for this my life-time reign as king.
YORK Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs,
And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou livest.
KING HENRY VI I am content: Richard Plantagenet,
Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.
CLIFFORD What wrong is this unto the prince your son!
WARWICK What good is this to England and himself!
WESTMORELAND Base, fearful and despairing Henry!
CLIFFORD How hast thou injured both thyself and us!
WESTMORELAND I cannot stay to hear these articles.
CLIFFORD Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these news.
WESTMORELAND Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
NORTHUMBERLAND Be thou a prey unto the house of York,
And die in bands for this unmanly deed!
CLIFFORD In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome,
Or live in peace abandon'd and despised!
WARWICK Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not.
EXETER They seek revenge and therefore will not yield.
WARWICK Why should you sigh, my lord?
KING HENRY VI Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son,
Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.
But be it as it may: I here entail
The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever;
Conditionally, that here thou take an oath
To cease this civil war, and, whilst I live,
To honour me as thy king and sovereign,
And neither by treason nor hostility
To seek to put me down and reign thyself.
YORK This oath I willingly take and will perform.
WARWICK Long live King Henry! Plantagenet embrace him.
KING HENRY VI And long live thou and these thy forward sons!
YORK Now York and Lancaster are reconciled.
EXETER Accursed be he that seeks to make them foes!
  [Sennet. Here they come down]
YORK Farewell, my gracious lord; I'll to my castle.
WARWICK And I'll keep London with my soldiers.
NORFOLK And I to Norfolk with my followers.
MONTAGUE And I unto the sea from whence I came.
WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, their Soldiers, and
KING HENRY VI And I, with grief and sorrow, to the court.
EXETER Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray her anger:
I'll steal away.
KING HENRY VI Exeter, so will I.
QUEEN MARGARET Nay, go not from me; I will follow thee.
KING HENRY VI Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay.
QUEEN MARGARET Who can be patient in such extremes?
Ah, wretched man! would I had died a maid
And never seen thee, never borne thee son,
Seeing thou hast proved so unnatural a father
Hath he deserved to lose his birthright thus?
Hadst thou but loved him half so well as I,
Or felt that pain which I did for him once,
Or nourish'd him as I did with my blood,
Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there,
Rather than have that savage duke thine heir
And disinherited thine only son.
PRINCE EDWARD Father, you cannot disinherit me:
If you be king, why should not I succeed?
KING HENRY VI Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me, sweet son:
The Earl of Warwick and the duke enforced me.
QUEEN MARGARET Enforced thee! art thou king, and wilt be forced?
I shame to hear thee speak. Ah, timorous wretch!
Thou hast undone thyself, thy son and me;
And given unto the house of York such head
As thou shalt reign but by their sufferance.
To entail him and his heirs unto the crown,
What is it, but to make thy sepulchre
And creep into it far before thy time?
Warwick is chancellor and the lord of Calais;
Stern Falconbridge commands the narrow seas;
The duke is made protector of the realm;
And yet shalt thou be safe? such safety finds
The trembling lamb environed with wolves.
Had I been there, which am a silly woman,
The soldiers should have toss'd me on their pikes
Before I would have granted to that act.
But thou preferr'st thy life before thine honour:
And seeing thou dost, I here divorce myself
Both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed,
Until that act of parliament be repeal'd
Whereby my son is disinherited.
The northern lords that have forsworn thy colours
Will follow mine, if once they see them spread;
And spread they shall be, to thy foul disgrace
And utter ruin of the house of York.
Thus do I leave thee. Come, son, let's away;
Our army is ready; come, we'll after them.
KING HENRY VI Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me speak.
QUEEN MARGARET Thou hast spoke too much already: get thee gone.
KING HENRY VI Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay with me?
QUEEN MARGARET Ay, to be murder'd by his enemies.
PRINCE EDWARD When I return with victory from the field
I'll see your grace: till then I'll follow her.
QUEEN MARGARET Come, son, away; we may not linger thus.
KING HENRY VI Poor queen! how love to me and to her son
Hath made her break out into terms of rage!
Revenged may she be on that hateful duke,
Whose haughty spirit, winged with desire,
Will cost my crown, and like an empty eagle
Tire on the flesh of me and of my son!
The loss of those three lords torments my heart:
I'll write unto them and entreat them fair.
Come, cousin you shall be the messenger.
EXETER And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.


To see other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 3 France. KING LEWIS XI's palace.
Act I, Scene 1 London. The Parliament-house. Act IV, Scene 1 London. The palace.
Act I, Scene 2 Sandal Castle. Act IV, Scene 2 A plain in Warwickshire./Act IV, Scene 3 Edward's camp, near Warwick.
Act I, Scene 3 Field of battle betwixt Sandal Castle and Wakefield. Act IV, Scene 4 London. The palace./Act IV, Scene 5 A park near Middleham Castle In Yorkshire.
Act I, Scene 4 Another part of the field. Act IV, Scene 6 London. The Tower.
Act II, Scene 1 A plain near Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire. Act IV, Scene 7 Before York./Act IV, Scene 8 London. The palace.
Act II, Scene 2 Before York. Act V, Scene 1 Coventry.
Act II, Scene 3 A field of battle between Towton and Saxton, in Yorkshire. Act V, Scene 2 A field of battle near Barnet. /Act V, Scene 3 Another part of the field.
Act II, Scene 4 Another part of the field./Act II, Scene 5 Another part of the field. Act V, Scene 4 Plains near Tewksbury.
Act II, Scene 6 Another part of the field. Act V, Scene 5 Another part of the field.
Act III, Scene 1 A forest in the north of England. Act V, Scene 6 London. The Tower.
Act III, Scene 2 London. The palace. Act V, Scene 7 London. The palace.


To view other Henry VI, Part 3 sections:

Main Play Page      Play Text    Scene by Scene Synopsis     Character Directory     Commentary  


To view the other Plays click below:

By  Comedies    Histories    Romances    Tragedies

All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale


To view other Shakespeare Library sections:

Biography     Plays     Poems     Sonnets     Theaters     Shake Links 

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
[Home]  [Upcoming Shows]  [HSC Venues]  [Past Productions]  [Articles] [HSC Programs]
 [Shakespeare Library] [Actor Resources]   [Contact Us]  [Links]  [Site Map]