Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry VI, Part 1 (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Mortimer, brought in a Chayre,
1070
and Iaylors.
Mort. Kind Keepers of my weake decaying Age,
Let dying Mortimer here rest himselfe.
Euen like a man new haled from the Wrack,
So fare my Limbes with long Imprisonment:
1075And these gray Locks, the Pursuiuants of death,
Nestor-like aged, in an Age of Care,
Argue the end of Edmund Mortimer.
These Eyes, like Lampes, whose wasting Oyle is spent,
Waxe dimme, as drawing to their Exigent.
1080Weake Shoulders, ouer-borne with burthening Griefe,
And pyth-lesse Armes, like to a withered Vine,
That droupes his sappe-lesse Branches to the ground.
Yet are these Feet, whose strength-lesse stay is numme,
(Vnable to support this Lumpe of Clay)
1085Swift-winged with desire to get a Graue,
As witting I no other comfort haue.
But tell me, Keeper, will my Nephew come?
Keeper. Richard Plantagenet, my Lord, will come:
We sent vnto the Temple, vnto his Chamber,
1090And answer was return'd, that he will come.
Mort. Enough: my Soule shall then be satisfied.
Poore Gentleman, his wrong doth equall mine.
Since Henry Monmouth first began to reigne,
Before whose Glory I was great in Armes,
1095This loathsome sequestration haue I had;
And euen since then, hath Richard beene obscur'd,
Depriu'd of Honor and Inheritance.
But now, the Arbitrator of Despaires,
Iust Death, kinde Vmpire of mens miseries,
1100With sweet enlargement doth dismisse me hence:
I would his troubles likewise were expir'd,
That so he might recouer what was lost.
Enter Richard.
Keeper. My Lord, your louing Nephew now is come.
1105 Mor. Richard Plantagenet, my friend, is he come?
Rich. I, Noble Vnckle, thus ignobly vs'd,
Your Nephew, late despised Richard, comes.
Mort. Direct mine Armes, I may embrace his Neck,
And in his Bosome spend my latter gaspe.
1110Oh tell me when my Lippes doe touch his Cheekes,
That I may kindly giue one fainting Kisse.
And now declare sweet Stem from Yorkes great Stock,
Why didst thou say of late thou wert despis'd?
Rich. First, leane thine aged Back against mine Arme,
1115And in that ease, Ile tell thee my Disease.
This day in argument vpon a Case,
Some words there grew 'twixt Somerset and me:
Among which tearmes, he vs'd his lauish tongue,
And did vpbrayd me with my Fathers death;
1120Which obloquie set barres before my tongue,
Else with the like I had requited him.
Therefore good Vnckle, for my Fathers sake,
In honor of a true Plantagenet,
And for Alliance sake, declare the cause
1125My Father, Earle of Cambridge, lost his Head.
Mort. That cause (faire Nephew) that imprison'd me,
And hath detayn'd me all my flowring Youth,
Within a loathsome Dungeon, there to pyne,
Was cursed Instrument of his decease.
1130 Rich. Discouer more at large what cause that was,
For I am ignorant, and cannot guesse.
Mort. I will, if that my fading breath permit,
And Death approach not, ere my Tale be done.
Henry the Fourth, Grandfather to this King,
1135Depos'd his Nephew Richard, Edwards Sonne,
The first begotten, and the lawfull Heire
Of Edward King, the Third of that Descent.
During whose Reigne, the Percies of the North,
Finding his Vsurpation most vniust,
1140Endeuour'd my aduancement to the Throne.
The reason mou'd these Warlike Lords to this,
Was, for that (young Richard thus remou'd,
Leauing no Heire begotten of his Body)
I was the next by Birth and Parentage:
1145For by my Mother, I deriued am
From Lionel Duke of Clarence, third Sonne
To King Edward the Third; whereas hee,
From Iohn of Gaunt doth bring his Pedigree,
Being but fourth of that Heroick Lyne.
1150But marke: as in this haughtie great attempt,
They laboured, to plant the rightfull Heire,
I lost my Libertie, and they their Liues.
Long after this, when Henry the Fift
(Succeeding his Father Bullingbrooke) did reigne;
1155Thy Father, Earle of Cambridge, then deriu'd
From famous Edmund Langley, Duke of Yorke,
Marrying my Sister, that thy Mother was;
Againe, in pitty of my hard distresse,
Leuied an Army, weening to redeeme,
1160And haue install'd me in the Diademe:
But as the rest, so fell that Noble Earle,
And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers,
In whom the Title rested, were supprest.
Rich. Of which, my Lord, your Honor is the last.
1165 Mort. True; and thou seest, that I no Issue haue,
And that my fainting words doe warrant death:
Thou art my Heire; the rest, I wish thee gather:
But yet be wary in thy studious care.
Rich. Thy graue admonishments preuayle with me:
1170But yet me thinkes, my Fathers execution
Was nothing lesse then bloody Tyranny.
Mort. With silence, Nephew, be thou pollitick,
Strong fixed is the House of Lancaster,
And like a Mountaine, not to be remou'd.
1175But now thy Vnckle is remouing hence,
As Princes doe their Courts, when they are cloy'd
With long continuance in a setled place.
Rich. O Vnckle, would some part of my young yeeres
Might but redeeme the passage of your Age.
1180 Mort. Thou do'st then wrong me, as yt slaughterer doth,
Which giueth many Wounds, when one will kill.
Mourne not, except thou sorrow for my good,
Onely giue order for my Funerall.
And so farewell, and faire be all thy hopes,
1185And prosperous be thy Life in Peace and Warre.
Dyes.
Rich. And Peace, no Warre, befall thy parting Soule.
In Prison hast thou spent a Pilgrimage,
And like a Hermite ouer-past thy dayes.
Well, I will locke his Councell in my Brest,
1190And what I doe imagine, let that rest.
Keepers conuey him hence, and I my selfe
Will see his Buryall better then his Life.
Exit.
Here dyes the duskie Torch of Mortimer,
Choakt with Ambition of the meaner sort.
1195And for those Wrongs, those bitter Iniuries,
Which Somerset hath offer'd to my House,
I doubt not, but with Honor to redresse.
And therefore haste I to the Parliament,
Eyther to be restored to my Blood,
1200Or make my will th' aduantage of my good.
Exit.