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A woman's general ; what should we fear ?
[A march afar off. Edw. I hear their drums : let's set our men in order, And issue forth, and bid them battle straight.
York. Five men to twenty !—though the odds be great, I doubt not, uncle, (33) of our victory. Many a battle have I won in France Whenas the enemy hath been ten to one: Why should I not now have the like success ?
SCENE III. Plains near Sandal Castle.
Alarums. Enter RUTLAND and his Tutor.
Rut. Ah, whither shall I fly to scape their hands?
Ah, tutor, look where bloody Clifford comes !
Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers.
Clif. Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life.
As for the brat of this accursèd duke,
Whose father slew my father,-he shall die.
Tut. And I, my lord, will bear him company.
Clif. Soldiers, away with him!
Tut. Ah, Clifford, murder not this innocent child,
Lest thou be hated both of God and man!
[Exit, forced off by Soldiers. Clif. How now! is he dead already? or is't fear That makes him close his eyes ?-I'll open them.
Rut. So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch
That trembles under his devouring paws;
And so he walks, insulting o'er his prey,
And so he comes, to rend his limbs asunder.-
Ah, gentle Clifford, kill me with thy sword,
And not with such a cruel threatening look!
Sweet Clifford, hear me speak before I die!-
I am too mean a subject for thy wrath :
Be thou reveng'd on men, and let me live.
Clif. In vain thou speak’st, poor boy; my father's blood Hath stopp'd the passage where thy words should enter.
Rut. Then let my father's blood open't again :
He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.
Clif. Had I thy brethren here, their lives and thine
Were not revenge sufficient for me ;
No, if I digg'd up thy forefathers' graves,
And hung their rotten coffins up in chains,
It could not slake mine ire nor ease my heart.
The sight of any of the house of York
Is as a fury to torment my soul;
And till I root out their accursèd line,
And leave not one alive, I live in hell.
[Lifting his hand. Rut. O, let me pray before I take my death !To thee I pray; sweet Clifford, pity me!
Clif. Such pity as my rapier's point affords.
Rut. I never did thee harm : why wilt thou slay me?
Clif. Thy father hath.
But 'twas ere I was born.
Thou hast one son,—for his sake pity me;
Lest in revenge thereof,-sith God is just,
He be as miserably slain as I.
Ah, let me live in prison all my days;
And when I give occasion of offence,
Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause.
Clif. No cause!
Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.
[Stabs him. Rut. Di faciant, laudis summa sit ista tuæ !* [Dies.
Clif. Plantagenet ! I come, Plantagenet ! And this thy son's blood cleaving to my blade Shall rust upon my weapon, till thy blood, Congeal'd with this, do make me wipe off both. [Exit.
• Di faciant, laudis summa sit ista tuæ.] Ovid, -Epist. Her,, Phyllis Demophoonti, 66.
SCENE IV. Another part of the plains near Sandal Castle.
Alarums. Enter YORK.
York. The army of the queen hath got the field:
My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
And all my followers to the eager foe
Turn back, and fly, like ships before the wind,
Or lambs pursu'd by hunger-starvèd wolves.
My sons,—God knows what hath bechanced them :
But this I know, they have demean'd themselves
Like men born to renown by life or death.
Three times did Richard make a lane to me,
And thrice cried, “Courage, father! fight it out!"
And full as oft came Edward to my side,
With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
In blood of those that had encounter'd him :
And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
Richard cried, “Charge! and give no foot of ground !"
And cried, (35) “ A crown, or else & glorious tomb!
A sceptre, or an earthly sepulchre !”
With this, we charg'd again : but, out, alas !
We bodg'd again ;(36) as I have seen a swan
With bootless labour swim against the tide,
And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
[A short alarum within.
Ah, hark! the fatal followers do pursue ;
And I am faint, and cannot fly their fury:
And were I strong, I would not shun their fury:
The sands are number'd that make up my life;
Here must I stay, and here my life must end.
Enter Queen MARGARET, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND, and
Come, bloody Clifford, -rough Northumberland, -
I dare your quenchless fury to more rage :
I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
North. Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.
Clif. Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm,
With downright payment, show'd unto my father.
Now Phaëthon hath tumbled from his car,
And made an evening at the noontide prick.
York. My ashes, as the phenix', may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all;
And in that hope I. throw mine eyes to heaven,
Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with.
Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?
Clif. So cowards fight when they can fly no further;
So doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons;
So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
Breathe out invectives 'gainst the officers.
York. O Clifford, but bethink thee once again,
And in thy thought o'er-run my former time;
And, if thou canst for blushing, view this face,
And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with cowardice
Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this.
Clif. I will not bandy with thee word for word,
But buckle(37) with thee blows, twice two for one. [Draws.
Q. Mar. Hold, valiant Clifford ! for a thousand causes
I would prolong awhile the traitor's life.-
Wrath makes him deaf :-speak thou, Northumberland.
North. Hold, Clifford ! do not honour him so much
To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart :
What valour were it, when a cur doth grin,
For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
When he might spurn him with his foot away?
It is war's prize to take all vantages;
And ten to one is no impeach of valour.
[They lay hands on York, who struggles.
Clif. Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.
North. So doth the cony struggle in the net.
[York is taken prisoner. York. So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty; So true men yield, with robbers so o'ermatch'd.
North. What would your grace have done unto him now?
Q. Mar. Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland, Come, make him stand upon this molehill here, That raught at mountains with outstretched arms, Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
What! was it you that would be England's king?
Was't you that revell’d in our parliament,
And made a preachment of your high descent?
Where are your mess of sons to back you now?
The wanton Edward, and the lusty George?
And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy,
Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice
Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood
That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point,
Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
And if thine eyes can water for his death,
I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
Alas, poor York! but that I hate thee deadly,
I should lament thy miserable state.
I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York;
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance. (98)
What! hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails
That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death?
Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad;
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport :
York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown.-
A crown for York !-and, lords, bow low to him :-
Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.-
[Putting a paper crown on his head. Ay, marry, sir, (39)
now looks he like a king!
Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair ;
And this is he was his adopted heir.—
But how is it that great Plantagenet
Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath?
As I bethink me, you should not be king
Till our King Henry had shook hands with death.
And will you pale your head in Henry's glory,
And rob his temples of the diadem,
Now in his life, against your holy oath?
0, 'tis a fault too-too unpardonable ! -
Off with the crown, and, with the crown, his head;
And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.