Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry VI, Part 3 (Folio 1, 1623)

Flourish. March. Enter the Queene, young
Edward, Somerset, Oxford, and
Qu. Great Lords, wise men ne'r sit and waile their losse,
2885But chearely seeke how to redresse their harmes.
What though the Mast be now blowne ouer-boord,
The Cable broke, the holding-Anchor lost,
And halfe our Saylors swallow'd in the flood?
Yet liues our Pilot still. Is't meet, that hee
2890Should leaue the Helme, and like a fearefull Lad,
With tearefull Eyes adde Water to the Sea,
And giue more strength to that which hath too much,
Whiles in his moane, the Ship splits on the Rock,
Which Industrie and Courage might haue sau'd?
2895Ah what a shame, ah what a fault were this.
Say Warwicke was our Anchor: what of that?
q3 And
170The third Part of Henry the Sixt.
And Mountague our Top-Mast: what of him?
Our slaught'red friends, the Tackles: what of these?
Why is not Oxford here, another Anchor?
2900And Somerset, another goodly Mast?
The friends of France our Shrowds and Tacklings?
And though vnskilfull, why not Ned and I,
For once allow'd the skilfull Pilots Charge?
We will not from the Helme, to sit and weepe,
2905But keepe our Course (though the rough Winde say no)
From Shelues and Rocks, that threaten vs with Wrack.
As good to chide the Waues, as speake them faire.
And what is Edward, but a ruthlesse Sea?
What Clarence, but a Quick-sand of Deceit?
2910And Richard, but a raged fatall Rocke?
All these, the Enemies to our poore Barke.
Say you can swim, alas 'tis but a while:
Tread on the Sand, why there you quickly sinke,
Bestride the Rock, the Tyde will wash you off,
2915Or else you famish, that's a three-fold Death.
This speake I (Lords) to let you vnderstand,
If case some one of you would flye from vs,
That there's no hop'd-for Mercy with the Brothers,
More then with ruthlesse Waues, with Sands and Rocks.
2920Why courage then, what cannot be auoided,
'Twere childish weakenesse to lament, or feare.
Prince. Me thinkes a Woman of this valiant Spirit,
Should, if a Coward heard her speake these words,
Infuse his Breast with Magnanimitie,
2925And make him, naked, foyle a man at Armes.
I speake not this, as doubting any here:
For did I but suspect a fearefull man,
He should haue leaue to goe away betimes,
Least in our need he might infect another,
2930And make him of like spirit to himselfe.
If any such be here, as God forbid,
Let him depart, before we neede his helpe.
Oxf. Women and Children of so high a courage,
And Warriors faint, why 'twere perpetuall shame.
2935Oh braue young Prince: thy famous Grandfather
Doth liue againe in thee; long may'st thou liue,
To beare his Image, and renew his Glories.
Som. And he that will not fight for such a hope,
Goe home to Bed, and like the Owle by day,
2940If he arise, be mock'd and wondred at.
Qu. Thankes gentle Somerset, sweet Oxford thankes.
Prince. And take his thankes, that yet hath nothing
Enter a Messenger.
2945Mess. Prepare you Lords, for Edward is at hand,
Readie to fight: therefore be resolute.
Oxf. I thought no lesse: it is his Policie,
To haste thus fast, to finde vs vnprouided.
Som. But hee's deceiu'd, we are in readinesse.
2950 Qu. This cheares my heart, to see your forwardnesse.
Oxf. Here pitch our Battaile, hence we will not budge.
Flourish, and march. Enter Edward, Richard,
Clarence, and Souldiers.
Edw. Braue followers, yonder stands the thornie Wood,
2955Which by the Heauens assistance, and your strength,
Must by the Roots be hew'ne vp yet ere Night.
I need not adde more fuell to your fire,
For well I wot, ye blaze, to burne them out:
Giue signall to the fight, and to it Lords.
2960 Qu. Lords, Knights, and Gentlemen, what I should say,
My teares gaine-say: for euery word I speake,
Ye see I drinke the water of my eye.
Therefore no more but this: Henry your Soueraigne
Is Prisoner to the Foe, his State vsurp'd,
2965His Realme a slaughter-house, his Subiects slaine,
His Statutes cancell'd, and his Treasure spent:
And yonder is the Wolfe, that makes this spoyle.
You fight in Iustice: then in Gods Name, Lords,
Be valiant, and giue signall to the fight.
2970 Alarum, Retreat, Excursions. Exeunt.