Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry VI, Part 3 (Folio 1, 1623)


1500
Enter K. Edward, Gloster, Clarence, Lady Gray.
King. Brother of Gloster, at S. Albons field
This Ladyes Husband, Sir Richard Grey, was slaine,
His Land then seiz'd on by the Conqueror,
Her suit is now, to repossesse those Lands,
1505Which wee in Iustice cannot well deny,
Because in Quarrell of the House of Yorke,
The worthy Gentleman did lose his Life.
Rich. Your Highnesse shall doe well to graunt her suit:
It were dishonor to deny it her.
1510King. It were no lesse, but yet Ile make a pawse.
Rich. Yea, is it so:
I see the Lady hath a thing to graunt,
Before the King will graunt her humble suit.
Clarence. Hee knowes the Game, how true hee keepes
1515the winde?
Rich. Silence.
King. Widow, we will consider of your suit,
And come some other time to know our minde.
Wid. Right gracious Lord, I cannot brooke delay:
1520May it please your Highnesse to resolue me now,
And what your pleasure is, shall satisfie me.
Rich. I Widow? then Ile warrant you all your Lands,
And if what pleases him, shall pleasure you:
Fight closer, or good faith you'le catch a Blow.
1525Clarence. I feare her not, vnlesse she chance to fall.
Rich. God forbid that, for hee'le take vantages.
King. How many Children hast thou, Widow? tell
me.
Clarence. I thinke he meanes to begge a Child of her.
1530Rich. Nay then whip me: hee'le rather giue her two.
Wid. Three, my most gracious Lord.
Rich. You shall haue foure, if you'le be rul'd by him.
King. 'Twere pittie they should lose their Fathers
Lands.
1535Wid. Be pittifull, dread Lord, and graunt it then.
King. Lords giue vs leaue, Ile trye this Widowes
wit.
Rich. I, good leaue haue you, for you will haue leaue,
Till Youth take leaue, and leaue you to the Crutch.
1540 King. Now tell me, Madame, doe you loue your
Children?
Wid. I, full as dearely as I loue my selfe.
King. And would you not doe much to doe them
good?
1545 Wid. To doe them good, I would sustayne some
harme.
King. Then get your Husbands Lands, to doe them
good.
Wid. Therefore I came vnto your Maiestie.
1550King. Ile tell you how these Lands are to be got.
Wid. So shall you bind me to your Highnesse seruice.
King. What seruice wilt thou doe me, if I giue them?
Wid. What you command, that rests in me to doe.
King. But you will take exceptions to my Boone.
1555Wid. No, gracious Lord, except I cannot doe it.
King. I, but thou canst doe what I meane to aske.
Wid. Why then I will doe what your Grace com-
mands.
Rich. Hee plyes her hard, and much Raine weares the
1560Marble.
Clar. As red as fire? nay then, her Wax must melt.
Wid. Why stoppes my Lord? shall I not heare my
Taske?
King. An easie Taske, 'tis but to loue a King.
1565 Wid. That's soone perform'd, because I am a Subiect.
King. Why then, thy Husbands Lands I freely giue
thee.
Wid. I take my leaue with many thousand thankes.
Rich. The Match is made, shee seales it with a Cursie.
1570King. But stay thee, 'tis the fruits of loue I meane.
Wid. The fruits of Loue, I meane, my louing Liege.
King. I, but I feare me in another sence.
What Loue, think'st thou, I sue so much to get?
Wid. My loue till death, my humble thanks, my prayers,
1575That loue which Vertue begges, and Vertue graunts.
King. No, by my troth, I did not meane such loue.
Wid. Why then you meane not, as I thought you did.
King. But now you partly may perceiue my minde.
Wid. My minde will neuer graunt what I perceiue
1580Your Highnesse aymes at, if I ayme aright.
King. To tell thee plaine, I ayme to lye with thee.
Wid. To tell you plaine, I had rather lye in Prison.
King. Why then thou shalt not haue thy Husbands
Lands.
1585Wid. Why then mine Honestie shall be my Dower,
For by that losse, I will not purchase them.
King. Therein thou wrong'st thy Children mightily.
Wid. Herein your Highnesse wrongs both them & me:
But mightie Lord, this merry inclination
1590Accords not with the sadnesse of my suit:
Please you dismisse me, eyther with I, or no.
King. I, if thou wilt say I to my request:
No, if thou do'st say No to my demand.
Wid. Then No, my Lord: my suit is at an end.
1595 Rich. The Widow likes him not, shee knits her
Browes.
Clarence. Hee is the bluntest Wooer in Christen-
dome.
King. Her Looks doth argue her replete with Modesty,
1600Her Words doth shew her Wit incomparable,
All her perfections challenge Soueraigntie,
One way, or other, shee is for a King,
And shee shall be my Loue, or else my Queene.
Say, that King Edward take thee for his Queene?
1605Wid. 'Tis better said then done, my gracious Lord:
I am a subiect fit to ieast withall,
But farre vnfit to be a Soueraigne.
King. Sweet Widow, by my State I sweare to thee,
I speake no more then what my Soule intends,
1610And that is, to enioy thee for my Loue.
Wid. And that is more then I will yeeld vnto:
I know, I am too meane to be your Queene,
And yet too good to be your Concubine.
King. You cauill, Widow, I did meane my Queene.
1615 Wid. 'Twill grieue your Grace, my Sonnes should call
you Father.
King. No more, then when my Daughters
Call thee Mother.
Thou art a Widow, and thou hast some Children,
1620And by Gods Mother, I being but a Batchelor,
Haue other-some. Why, 'tis a happy thing,
To be the Father vnto many Sonnes:
Answer no more, for thou shalt be my Queene.
Rich. The Ghostly Father now hath done his Shrift.
1625 Clarence. When hee was made a Shriuer, 'twas for shift.
King. Brothers, you muse what Chat wee two haue
had.
Rich. The Widow likes it not, for shee lookes very
sad.
1630 King. You'ld thinke it strange, if I should marrie
her.
Clarence. To who, my Lord?
King. Why Clarence, to my selfe.
Rich. That would be tenne dayes wonder at the least.
1635Clarence. That's a day longer then a Wonder lasts.
Rich. By so much is the Wonder in extremes.
King. Well, ieast on Brothers: I can tell you both,
Her suit is graunted for her Husbands Lands.
Enter a Noble man.
1640Nob. My gracious Lord, Henry your Foe is taken,
And brought your Prisoner to your Pallace Gate.
King. See that he be conuey'd vnto the Tower:
And goe wee Brothers to the man that tooke him,
To question of his apprehension.
1645Widow goe you along: Lords vse her honourable.
Exeunt.
Manet Richard.
Rich. I, Edward will vse Women honourably:
Would he were wasted, Marrow, Bones, and all,
1650That from his Loynes no hopefull Branch may spring,
To crosse me from the Golden time I looke for:
And yet, betweene my Soules desire, and me,
The lustfull Edwards Title buryed,
Is Clarence, Henry, and his Sonne young Edward,
1655And all the vnlook'd-for Issue of their Bodies,
To take their Roomes, ere I can place my selfe:
A cold premeditation for my purpose.
Why then I doe but dreame on Soueraigntie,
Like one that stands vpon a Promontorie,
1660And spyes a farre-off shore, where hee would tread,
Wishing his foot were equall with his eye,
And chides the Sea, that sunders him from thence,
Saying, hee'le lade it dry, to haue his way:
So doe I wish the Crowne, being so farre off,
1665And so I chide the meanes that keepes me from it,
And so (I say) Ile cut the Causes off,
Flattering me with impossibilities:
My Eyes too quicke, my Heart o're-weenes too much,
Vnlesse my Hand and Strength could equall them.
1670Well, say there is no Kingdome then for Richard:
What other Pleasure can the World affoord?
Ile make my Heauen in a Ladies Lappe,
And decke my Body in gay Ornaments,
And 'witch sweet Ladies with my Words and Lookes.
1675Oh miserable Thought! and more vnlikely,
Then to accomplish twentie Golden Crownes.
Why Loue forswore me in my Mothers Wombe:
And for I should not deale in her soft Lawes,
Shee did corrupt frayle Nature with some Bribe,
1680To shrinke mine Arme vp like a wither'd Shrub,
To make an enuious Mountaine on my Back,
Where sits Deformitie to mocke my Body;
To shape my Legges of an vnequall size,
To dis-proportion me in euery part:
1685Like to a Chaos, or an vn-lick'd Beare-whelpe,
That carryes no impression like the Damme.
And am I then a man to be belou'd?
Oh monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought.
Then since this Earth affoords no Ioy to me,
1690But to command, to check, to o're-beare such,
As are of better Person then my selfe:
Ile make my Heauen, to dreame vpon the Crowne,
And whiles I liue, t'account this World but Hell,
Vntill my mis-shap'd Trunke, that beares this Head,
1695Be round impaled with a glorious Crowne.
And yet I know not how to get the Crowne,
For many Liues stand betweene me and home:
And I, like one lost in a Thornie Wood,
That rents the Thornes, and is rent with the Thornes,
1700Seeking a way, and straying from the way,
Not knowing how to finde the open Ayre,
But toyling desperately to finde it out,
Torment my selfe, to catch the English Crowne:
And from that torment I will free my selfe,
1705Or hew my way out with a bloody Axe.
Why I can smile, and murther whiles I smile,
And cry, Content, to that which grieues my Heart,
And wet my Cheekes with artificiall Teares,
And frame my Face to all occasions.
1710Ile drowne more Saylers then the Mermaid shall,
Ile slay more gazers then the Basiliske,
Ile play the Orator as well as Nestor,
Deceiue more slyly then Vlisses could,
And like a Synon, take another Troy.
1715I can adde Colours to the Camelion,
Change shapes with Proteus, for aduantages,
And set the murtherous Macheuill to Schoole.
Can I doe this, and cannot get a Crowne?
Tut, were it farther off, Ile plucke it downe.
Exit.