William Shakespeare: King Henry VI, Third Part

3. SCENE III. A field of battle between Towton.

[Alarums. Excursions. Enter WARWICK.]

Forspent with toil, as runners with a race,
I lay me down a little while to breathe;
For strokes receiv'd, and many blows repaid,
Have robb'd my strong-knit sinews of their strength,
And, spite of spite, needs must I rest awhile.

[Enter EDWARD, running.]

Smile, gentle heaven, or strike, ungentle death!
For this world frowns and Edward's sun is clouded.

How now, my lord? what hap? what hope of good?

[Enter GEORGE.]

Our hap is lost, our hope but sad despair;
Our ranks are broke and ruin follows us.
What counsel give you? whither shall we fly?

Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings;
And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.

[Enter RICHARD.]

Ah, Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn thyself?
Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,
Broach'd with the steely point of Clifford's lance;
And in the very pangs of death he cried,
Like to a dismal clangor heard from far,
'Warwick, revenge! brother, revenge my death!'
So, underneath the belly of their steeds
That stain'd their fetlocks in his smoking blood,
The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.

Then let the earth be drunken with our blood;
I'll kill my horse, because I will not fly.
Why stand we like soft-hearted women here,
Wailing our losses whiles the foe doth rage,
And look upon, as if the tragedy
Were play'd in jest by counterfeiting actors?
Here on my knee I vow to God above,
I'll never pause again, never stand still,
Till either death hath clos'd these eyes of mine,
Or fortune given me measure of revenge.

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