1. SCENE I. A plain near Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire.
Ah, one that was a woeful looker-on
When as the noble Duke of York was slain,
Your princely father and my loving lord.
O, speak no more, for I have heard too much!
Say how he died, for I will hear it all.
Environed he was with many foes,
And stood against them as the hope of Troy
Against the Greeks that would have ent'red Troy.
But Hercules himself must yield to odds;
And many strokes, though with a little axe,
Hew down and fell the hardest-timber'd oak.
By many hands your father was subdu'd,
But only slaught'red by the ireful arm
Of unrelenting Clifford and the queen,
Who crown'd the gracious duke in high despite,
Laugh'd in his face, and when with grief he wept
The ruthless queen gave him, to dry his cheeks,
A napkin steeped in the harmless blood
Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain.
And, after many scorns, many foul taunts,
They took his head, and on the gates of York
They set the same; and there it doth remain,
The saddest spectacle that e'er I view'd.
Sweet Duke of York! our prop to lean upon,
Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay.
O Clifford! boisterous Clifford! thou hast slain
The flower of Europe for his chivalry;
And treacherously hast thou vanquish'd him,
For hand to hand he would have vanquish'd thee.
Now my soul's palace is become a prison.
Ah, would she break from hence, that this my body
Might in the ground be closed up in rest!
For never henceforth shall I joy again,
Never, O, never, shall I see more joy!
I cannot weep, for all my body's moisture
Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart;
Nor can my tongue unload my heart's great burthen,
For selfsame wind that I should speak withal
Is kindling coals that fires all my breast
And burns me up with flames that tears would quench.
To weep is to make less the depth of grief;
Tears, then, for babes, blows and revenge for me!--
Richard, I bear thy name; I'll venge thy death,
Or die renowned by attempting it.