Act 2 - Scene 5
Another part of the field.
Alarum. Enter KING HENRY VI alone
KING HENRY VI
This battle fares like to the morning's war,
When dying clouds contend with growing light,
What time the
shepherd, blowing of his nails,
Can neither call it perfect day nor night.
Now sways it this way, like a mighty
Forced by the tide to combat with the wind;
Now sways it that way, like the selfsame sea
retire by fury of the wind:
Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind;
Now one the better, then another
Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
Yet neither conqueror nor conquered:
So is the equal of
this fell war.
Here on this molehill will I sit me down.
To whom God will, there be the victory!
my queen, and Clifford too,
Have chid me from the battle; swearing both
They prosper best of all when I
Would I were dead! if God's good will were so;
For what is in this world but grief and woe?
God! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run,
How many make the
hour full complete;
How many hours bring about the day;
How many days will finish up the year;
many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times:
So many hours must
I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate;
So many hours
must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks ere the poor fools
So many years ere I shall shear the fleece:
So minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah, what a life were this!
how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings that fear their subjects' treachery?
O, yes, it doth; a
thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leather
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond
a prince's delicates,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in a curious bed,
mistrust, and treason waits on him.
Alarum. Enter a Son that has killed his father, dragging in the dead body
Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
This man, whom hand to hand I slew in fight,
May be possessed
with some store of crowns;
And I, that haply take them from him now,
May yet ere night yield both my life
To some man else, as this dead man doth me.
Who's this? O God! it is my father's face,
in this conflict I unwares have kill'd.
O heavy times, begetting such events!
From London by the king was I
My father, being the Earl of Warwick's man,
Came on the part of York, press'd by his master;
I, who at his hands received my life, him
Have by my hands of life bereaved him.
Pardon me, God, I knew
not what I did!
And pardon, father, for I knew not thee!
My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks;
no more words till they have flow'd their fill.
KING HENRY VI
O piteous spectacle! O bloody times!
Whiles lions war and battle for their dens,
Poor harmless lambs
abide their enmity.
Weep, wretched man, I'll aid thee tear for tear;
And let our hearts and eyes, like civil
Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharged with grief.
Enter a Father that has killed his son, bringing in the body
Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me,
Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold:
For I have bought it with
an hundred blows.
But let me see: is this our foeman's face?
Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son!
Ah, boy, if
any life be left in thee,
Throw up thine eye! see, see what showers arise,
Blown with the windy tempest of