William Shakespeare: King Henry VI, Second Part

1. SCENE I. Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.

[Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum and colours.]

From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head.
Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,
To entertain great England's lawful king.
Ah! sancta majestas! who would not buy thee dear?
Let them obey that knows not how to rule;
This hand was made to handle nought but gold.
I cannot give due action to my words
Except a sword or sceptre balance it.
A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.--


Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?
The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble.

York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.

Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?

A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
Should raise so great a power without his leave,
Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.

[Aside.] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great:
O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
I am so angry at these abject terms;
And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
I am far better born than is the king,
More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts;
But I must make fair weather yet a while,
Till Henry be more weak and I more strong.--
Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
That I have given no answer all this while;
My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
The cause why I have brought this army hither
Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
Seditious to his grace and to the state.

That is too much presumption on thy part;
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand.
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.

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