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  • Title: Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)
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    Author: William Shakespeare
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    Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)

    Enter Mortimer, brought in a chair, 1070[by his jailor Keepers].
    Kind keepers of my weak decaying age,
    Let dying Mortimer here rest himself.
    Even like a man new-halèd from the rack,
    So fare my limbs with long imprisonment;
    1075And these grey locks, the pursuivants of death,
    Nestor-like agèd in an age of care,
    Argue the end of Edmund Mortimer.
    These eyes, like lamps whose wasting oil is spent,
    Wax dim, as drawing to their exigent;
    1080Weak shoulders, overborne with burdening grief,
    And pithless arms, like to a withered vine
    That droops his sapless branches to the ground.
    Yet are these feet, whose strengthless stay is numb,
    Unable to support this lump of clay,
    1085Swift-wingèd with desire to get a grave,
    As witting I no other comfort have.
    But tell me, keeper, will my nephew come?
    Richard Plantagenet, my lord, will come.
    We sent unto the Temple, unto his chamber,
    1090And answer was returned that he will come.
    Enough. My soul shall then be satisfied.
    Poor gentleman, his wrong doth equal mine.
    Since Henry Monmouth first began to reign,
    Before whose glory I was great in arms,
    1095This loathsome sequestration have I had;
    And even since then hath Richard been obscured,
    Deprived of honor and inheritance.
    But now the arbitrator of despairs,
    Just Death, kind umpire of men's miseries,
    1100With sweet enlargement doth dismiss me hence.
    I would his troubles likewise were expired,
    That so he might recover what was lost.
    Enter Richard [Plantagenet].
    My lord, your loving nephew now is come.
    Richard Plantagenet, my friend, is he come?
    Aye, noble uncle, thus ignobly used:
    Your nephew, late despisèd Richard, comes.
    Direct mine arms I may embrace his neck
    And in his bosom spend my latter gasp.
    1110O tell me when my lips do touch his cheeks,
    That I may kindly give one fainting kiss.
    [He embraces Richard.]
    And now declare sweet stem from York's great stock,
    Why didst thou say of late thou wert despised?
    First lean thine agèd back against mine arm,
    1115And in that ease I'll tell thee my dis-ease.
    This day in argument upon a case
    Some words there grew 'twixt Somerset and me;
    Among which terms he used his lavish tongue
    And did upbraid me with my father's death;
    1120Which obloquy set bars before my tongue,
    Else with the like I had requited him.
    Therefore, good uncle, for my father's sake,
    In honor of a true Plantagenet,
    And for alliance' sake, declare the cause
    1125My father, Earl of Cambridge, lost his head.
    That cause, fair nephew, that imprisoned me,
    And hath detained me all my flow'ring youth
    Within a loathsome dungeon, there to pine,
    Was cursèd instrument of his decease.
    Discover more at large what cause that was,
    For I am ignorant and cannot guess.
    I will, if that my fading breath permit
    And death approach not ere my tale be done.
    Henry the Fourth, grandfather to this King,
    1135Deposed his nephew Richard, Edward's son,
    The first begotten and the lawful heir
    Of Edward, king the third of that descent;
    During whose reign the Percies of the north,
    Finding his usurpation most unjust,
    1140Endeavored my advancement to the throne.
    The reason moved these warlike lords to this
    Was for that, young Richard thus removed,
    Leaving no heir begotten of his body,
    I was the next by birth and parentage,
    1145For by my mother I derivèd am
    From Lionel, Duke of Clarence, third son
    To King Edward the Third; whereas he
    From John of Gaunt doth bring his pedigree,
    Being but fourth of that heroic line.
    1150But mark: as in this haughty great attempt
    They labourèd to plant the rightful heir,
    I lost my liberty, and they their lives.
    Long after this, when Henry the Fifth,
    Succeeding his father Bolingbroke, did reign,
    1155Thy father, Earl of Cambridge, then derived
    From famous Edmund Langley, Duke of York,
    Marrying my sister that thy mother was,
    Again, in pity of my hard distress,
    Levied an army, weening to redeem
    1160And have installed me in the diadem;
    But as the rest, so fell that noble earl,
    And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers,
    In whom the title rested, were suppressed.
    Of which, my lord, your honor is the last.
    True, and thou seest that I no issue have,
    And that my fainting words do warrant death.
    Thou art my heir. The rest I wish thee gather:
    But yet be wary in thy studious care.
    Thy grave admonishments prevail with me.
    1170But yet methinks my father's execution
    Was nothing less than bloody tyranny.
    With silence, nephew, be thou politic.
    Strong fixèd is the house of Lancaster,
    And like a mountain, not to be removed.
    1175But now thy uncle is removing hence,
    As princes do their courts, when they are cloyed
    With long continuance in a settled place.
    O uncle, would some part of my young years
    Might but redeem the passage of your age.
    Thou dost then wrong me, as that slaughterer doth,
    Which giveth many wounds when one will kill.
    Mourn not, except thou sorrow for my good.
    Only give order for my funeral.
    And so farewell, and fair be all thy hopes,
    1185And prosperous be thy life in peace and war.
    And peace, no war, befall thy parting soul.
    In prison hast thou spent a pilgrimage,
    And like a hermit overpassed thy days.
    Well, I will lock his counsel in my breast,
    1190And what I do imagine, let that rest.
    Keepers, convey him hence, and I myself
    Will see his burial better than his life.
    [Exeunt Keepers with Mortimer's body in the chair.]
    Here dies the dusky torch of Mortimer,
    Choked with ambition of the meaner sort.
    1195And for those wrongs, those bitter injuries,
    Which Somerset hath offered to my house,
    I doubt not but with honor to redress.
    And therefore haste I to the Parliament,
    Either to be restorèd to my blood,
    1200Or make my will th'advantage of my good.