Henry VI Part 3

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter King Edward, Richard Duke of Gloucester,

George Duke of Clarence, and Lady Grey


Brother of Gloucester, at Saint Albans field
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

This lady's husband, Sir Richard Grey, was slain,

His lands then seized on by the conqueror.

Her suit is now to repossess those lands;
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

Which we in justice cannot well deny,
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]

Because in quarrel of the house of York
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

The worthy gentleman did lose his life.


Your highness shall do well to grant her suit;

It were dishonour to deny it her.
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]


It were no less; but yet I'll make a pause.


(aside to George)

Yea, is it so?

I see the lady hath a thing to grant

Before the King will grant her humble suit.
true (adv.) 1 steadily, reliably, surely
wind, keep the stay downwind of a quarry [so as to maintain a scent]


(aside to Richard)
game (n.) 2 quarry, object of the chase

He knows the game; how true he keeps the wind!


(aside to George)



Widow, we will consider of your suit;

And come some other time to know our mind.


Right gracious lord, I cannot brook delay;
brook (v.) 1 endure, tolerate, put up with

May it please your highness to resolve me now,
resolve (v.) 1 answer, respond to

And what your pleasure is shall satisfy me.
pleasure (n.) 1 wish, desire, will


(aside to George)
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

Ay, widow? Then I'll warrant you all your lands,

An if what pleases him shall pleasure you.

Fight closer, or, good faith, you'll catch a blow.
blow (n.) [fencing] stab, firm stroke


(aside to Richard)
fear (v.) 2 fear for, worry about, be anxious about

I fear her not unless she chance to fall.


(aside to George)
vantage (n.) 1 right moment, suitable opportunity

God forbid that! For he'll take vantages.


How many children hast thou, widow? Tell me.


(aside to Richard)

I think he means to beg a child of her.


(aside to George)

Nay then, whip me; he'll rather give her two.


Three, my most gracious lord.


(aside to George)

You shall have four, if you'll be ruled by him.


'Twere pity they should lose their father's lands.


Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it then.
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe
pitiful (adj.) compassionate, merciful, tender


Lords, give us leave; I'll try this widow's wit.
try (v.) 1 prove, ascertain, find out
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count


(aside to George)

Ay, good leave have you; for you will have leave,

Till youth take leave and leave you to the crutch.

Richard and George go out of earshot


Now tell me, madam, do you love your children?


Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.


And would you not do much to do them good?
good, do one 1 make prosper, enable to succeed


To do them good I would sustain some harm.


Then get your husband's lands, to do them good.


Therefore I came unto your majesty.


I'll tell you how these lands are to be got.


So shall you bind me to your highness' service.
service (n.) 4 respect, duty, esteem


What service wilt thou do me, if I give them?


What you command, that rests in me to do.
rest (v.) 2 remain [to be done], be left


But you will take exceptions to my boon.
boon (n.) petition, entreaty, request
exception (n.) 1 (often plural) objection, dislike, disapproval


No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.


Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to ask.


Why, then I will do what your grace commands.


(aside to George)
ply (v.) keep on at, press, urge

He plies her hard; and much rain wears the marble.


(aside to Richard)

As red as fire! Nay, then her wax must melt.


Why stops my lord? Shall I not hear my task?


An easy task; 'tis but to love a king.


That's soon performed, because I am a subject.


Why, then, thy husband's lands I freely give thee.


I take my leave with many thousand thanks.


(aside to George)
seal (v.) 1 confirm, ratify, approve

The match is made; she seals it with a curtsy.


But stay thee; 'tis the fruits of love I mean.
stay (v.) 2 linger, tarry, delay


The fruits of love I mean, my loving liege.


Ay, but I fear me in another sense.

What love, thinkest thou, I sue so much to get?
sue (v.) 1 beg, plead, beseech


My love till death, my humble thanks, my prayers;

That love which virtue begs and virtue grants.


No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.


Why, then you mean not as I thought you did.


But now you partly may perceive my mind.


My mind will never grant what I perceive

Your highness aims at, if I aim aright.
aim (v.) guess, conjecture, surmise


To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.
lie (v.) 4 sleep, go to bed
plain (adv.) honestly, frankly, openly


To tell you plain, I had rather lie in prison.


Why, then thou shalt not have thy husband's lands.


Why, then mine honesty shall be my dower;
dower (n.) dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
honesty (n.) 1 virtue, chastity

For by that loss I will not purchase them.


Therein thou wrongest thy children mightily.


Herein your highness wrongs both them and me.

But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
inclination (n.) character, temperament, disposition
merry (adj.) 1 facetious, droll, jocular

Accords not with the sadness of my suit:
sadness (n.) seriousness, gravity

Please you dismiss me, either with ay or no.


Ay, if thou wilt say ‘ ay ’ to my request;

No, if thou dost say ‘ no ’ to my demand.


Then, no, my lord. My suit is at an end.
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count


(aside to George)
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow

The widow likes him not; she knits her brows.


(aside to Richard)
blunt (adj.) 2 plain-spoken, unceremonious, forthright

He is the bluntest wooer in Christendom.



Her looks doth argue her replete with modesty;

Her words doth show her wit incomparable;
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

All her perfections challenge sovereignty.
challenge (v.) 1 demand as a right, claim, call for, insist on

One way or other, she is for a king;

And she shall be my love or else my queen.
love (n.) 1 mistress, lover, paramour

(to Lady Grey)

Say that King Edward take thee for his queen?


'Tis better said than done, my gracious lord.

I am a subject fit to jest withal,

But far unfit to be a sovereign.


Sweet widow, by my state I swear to thee
state (n.) 6 kingship, majesty, sovereignty

I speak no more than what my soul intends;

And that is, to enjoy thee for my love.
enjoy (v.) 4 possess in love, sleep with
love (n.) 1 mistress, lover, paramour


And that is more than I will yield unto.

I know I am too mean to be your queen,
mean (adj.) 1 of low rank, inferior in position, less important

And yet too good to be your concubine.


You cavil, widow; I did mean my queen.
cavil (v.) dispute over details, raise pointless objections


'Twill grieve your grace my sons should call you father.


No more than when my daughters call thee mother.

Thou art a widow and thou hast some children;

And, by God's mother, I, being but a bachelor,

Have other some; why, 'tis a happy thing
happy (adj.) 1 fortunate, lucky, favoured

To be the father unto many sons.

Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.


(aside to George)
ghostly (adj.) spiritual, holy
shrift (n.) 2 absolution

The ghostly father now hath done his shrift.


(aside to Richard)
shift (n.) 4 stratagem, tactic, way
shriver (n.) father confessor

When he was made a shriver, 'twas for shift.


Brothers, you muse what chat we two have had.
muse (v.) 3 wonder, speculate, ponder


The widow likes it not, for she looks very sad.
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy


You'd think it strange if I should marry her.


To who, my lord?


                         Why, Clarence, to myself.


That would be ten days' wonder at the least.


That's a day longer than a wonder lasts.


By so much is the wonder in extremes.
extreme (n.) 2 highest degree, largest kind


Well, jest on, brothers; I can tell you both

Her suit is granted for her husband's lands.

Enter a Nobleman


My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken,

And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.


See that he be conveyed unto the Tower;

And go we, brothers, to the man that took him,

To question of his apprehension.
apprehension (n.) 6 arrest, seizure, laying hold

Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honourably.

Exeunt all but Richard


Ay, Edward will use women honourably.

Would he were wasted, marrow, bones, and all,
waste (v.) 4 lay waste, ravage, devastate

That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring,

To cross me from the golden time I look for!
cross (v.) 1 prevent, thwart, forestall

And yet, between my soul's desire and me –

The lustful Edward's title buried –
bury (v.) 1 abandon forever, consign to oblivion, eliminate

Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,

And all the unlooked-for issue of their bodies,
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count
unlooked-for (adj.) 2 undesirable, unwelcome, disagreeable

To take their rooms, ere I can place myself:
room (n.) 4 position [in line to the throne]

A cold premeditation for my purpose!
cold (adj.) 9 bad, unwelcome, disagreeable
premeditation (n.) forecast, outlook
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Why then, I do but dream on sovereignty;

Like one that stands upon a promontory

And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,

Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,

And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count
sunder (v.) 1 separate, split up, part

Saying he'll lade it dry to have his way;
lade (v.) drain, bail, empty

So do I wish the crown, being so far off;

And so I chide the means that keeps me from it;
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count
mean (n.) 9 (plural) obstacles, intervening factors

And so I say I'll cut the causes off,
cut off (v.) 3 put to death, bring to an untimely end

Flattering me with impossibilities.
flatter (v.) 2 deceive, beguile

My eye's too quick, my heart o'erweens too much,
overween (v.) 1 presume too much, go too far
quick (adj.) 6 alive to possibilities, lively, impatient

Unless my hand and strength could equal them.

Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard,

What other pleasure can the world afford?

I'll make my heaven in a lady's lap,

And deck my body in gay ornaments,
deck (v.) cover, adorn, decorate

And 'witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
witch (v.) bewitch, charm, enchant

O, miserable thought! And more unlikely

Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns!
accomplish (v.) 2 get possession of, gain, obtain

Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb;

And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,

She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe

To shrink mine arm up like a withered shrub;

To make an envious mountain on my back,
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

Where sits deformity to mock my body;

To shape my legs of an unequal size;

To disproportion me in every part,

Like to a chaos, or an unlicked bear-whelp
chaos (n.) piece of shapeless matter, amorphous mass
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

That carries no impression like the dam.
impression (n.) 1 shape, resemblance, appearance

And am I then a man to be beloved?

O, monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought!
fault (n.) 2 mistake, error, blunder
monstrous (adj.) unnatural, outlandish, aberrant

Then, since this earth affords no joy to me

But to command, to check, to o'erbear such
check (v.) 1 rebuke, scold, reprimand
overbear (v.) 2 overrule, overcome, put down

As are of better person than myself,
person (n.) 2 physical appearance, bodily figure

I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,

And, whiles I live, t' account this world but hell,

Until my misshaped trunk that bears this head

Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
impale, empale (v.) encircle, enclose, ring

And yet I know not how to get the crown,

For many lives stand between me and home;

And I – like one lost in a thorny wood,

That rents the thorns and is rent with the thorns,
rent (v.) rend, tear, pull to pieces

Seeking a way and straying from the way,
way (n.) 3 path, track, trail

Not knowing how to find the open air,

But toiling desperately to find it out –
find out (v.) 1 discover, find, come upon

Torment myself to catch the English crown;
catch (v.) 1 seize, get hold of, capture

And from that torment I will free myself,

Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.

Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,

And cry ‘ Content!’ to that which grieves my heart,
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count

And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
artificial (adj.) 2 hypocritical, feigned, phony

And frame my face to all occasions.
frame (v.) 2 adapt, adjust, shape, accommodate

I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;

I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
basilisk (n.) 1 mythical serpent which killed with its look

I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,

Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,

And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.

I can add colours to the chameleon,

Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,

And set the murderous Machiavel to school.

Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?

Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down.


  Previous scene     Next scene