That cause, fair nephew, that imprison'd me
And hath detain'd me all my flowering youth
Within a loathsome
dungeon, there to pine,
Was cursed instrument of his decease.
Discover more at large what cause that was,
For I am ignorant and cannot guess.
I will, if that my fading breath permit
And death approach not ere my tale be done.
Henry the Fourth,
grandfather to this king,
Deposed his nephew Richard, Edward's son,
The first-begotten and the lawful
Of Edward king, the third of that descent:
During whose reign the Percies of the north,
usurpation most unjust,
Endeavor'd my advancement to the throne:
The reason moved these warlike lords
Was, for thatyoung King Richard thus removed,
Leaving no heir begotten of his body
I was the next
by birth and parentage;
For by my mother I derived am
From Lionel Duke of Clarence, the third son
King Edward the Third; whereas he
From John of Gaunt doth bring his pedigree,
Being but fourth of that
But mark: as in this haughty attempt
They laboured to plant the rightful heir,
I lost my liberty
and they their lives.
Long after this, when Henry the Fifth,
Succeeding his father Bolingbroke, did reign,
father, Earl of Cambridge, then derived
From famous Edmund Langley, Duke of York,
Marrying my sister
that thy mother was,
Again in pity of my hard distress
Levied an army, weening to redeem
And have install'd
me in the diadem:
But, as the rest, so fell that noble earl
And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers,
the tide rested, were suppress'd.
Of which, my lord, your honour is the last.
True; and thou seest that I no issue have
And that my fainting words do warrant death;
Thou art my heir; the
rest I wish thee gather:
But yet be wary in thy studious care.
Thy grave admonishments prevail with me:
But yet, methinks, my father's execution
Was nothing less than
With silence, nephew, be thou politic:
Strong-fixed is the house of Lancaster,
And like a mountain, not to
But now thy uncle is removing hence:
As princes do their courts, when they are cloy'd
long continuance in a settled place.
O, uncle, would some part of my young years
Might but redeem the passage of your age!
Thou dost then wrong me, as that slaughterer doth
Which giveth many wounds when one will kill.
not, except thou sorrow for my good;
Only give order for my funeral:
And so farewell, and fair be all thy
And prosperous be thy life in peace and war!
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