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York. Mine, boy? not till King Henry be dead.
Rich. Your right depends not on his life or death.
Edw. Now you are heir, therefore enjoy it now:

By giving the house of Lancaster leave to breathe,
It will outrun you, father, in the end.
York. I took an oath that he should quietly reign.
Edw. But for a kingdom any oath may be broken :

I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.
Rich. No; God forbid your grace should be forsworn.
York. I shall be, if I claim by open war.

Rich. I'll prove the contrary, if you'll hear me speak.
York. Thou canst not, son; it is impossible.
Rich. An oath is of no moment, being not took

Before a true and lawful magistrate

That hath authority over him that swears:
Henry had none, but did usurp the place;

Then, seeing 'twas he that made you to depose,
Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous.
Therefore, to arms! And, father, do but think
How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown,

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contention, about that which concernes your selfe and vs, The crowne of England father Q. 10-15. York. Mine, boy?... quietly reign] 8-10. York. The crowne boy, why Henries yet alive, And I have sworne that he shall raigne in quiet till His death Q. 16, 17. But one year] II, 12. But I would breake an hundred othes to raigne one yeare Q. 18-20. No. speak] 13-15. And if it please your grace to giue me leaue, I'll shew your grace the waie to saue your oath, And dispossesse King Henrie from the crowne Q. 21. Thou impossible] 16. I prethee Dicke let me heare thy deuise Q. 22, 23. took. magistrate] 17, 18. Then thus my Lord. An oath ... 24, 25. That! place] 19. Henry 26-34. Then, seeing Henry's bound to him by oath. Then noble

An oath

sworne before a lawfull magistrate Q.
is none but doth vsurpe your right Q.
heart] 20-22. And yet your grace stands

14. outrun you] escape from you. Compare 2 Henry VI. v. iii. 73: "Can we outrun the heavens ? " See note. 17. break. oaths to reign] Halliwell quotes from Cicero here, in his edition of True Tragedie (Q 1): "Nam si violandum est jus, regnandi gratia Violandum est." York obtained a dispensation from the Pope to release him from his oath. See extract below from Holinshed at I. iv. 100


18. your grace] Note the omission from the finished play of a redundancy of titles: 66 your grace,' "noble father," crowded in Quartos.

27. frivolous] Occurs again in Part I. IV. i. 112; and in Taming of Shrew,

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v. i. 28. Hall has the word in York's speech to the lords of parliament above: "without these two poyntes knowen and understanded, your iudgements may be voyde and your cogitacions friuolous" (p. 245, ed. 1548).

29. to wear a crown] Compare with Tamburlaine, Part I. II. v. (17, a) :"A god is not so glorious as a king, I think the pleasures they enjoy in heaven

Cannot compare with kingly joys
in earth:

To wear a crown enchased with
pearl and gold
To ask and have."

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And a little later in the same play (18, b):—

Within whose circuit is Elysium,


And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.

Why do we linger thus? I cannot rest
Until the white rose that I wear be dyed
Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry's heart.
York. Richard, enough: I will be king, or die.
Brother, thou shalt to London presently,
And whet on Warwick to this enterprise.
Thou, Richard, shalt to the Duke of Norfolk,
And tell him privily of our intent.

You, Edward, shall unto my Lord Cobham,
With whom the Kentishmen will willingly rise:
In them I trust; for they are soldiers,
Witty, courteous, liberal, full of spirit.
While you are thus employ'd, what resteth more,


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father resolue your selfe, And once more claime the crowne Q. For lines 33, 34 here, rose dyed. in . . . blood, see below at II. i. 81-88. 35. Richard die] 23, 24. I, saist thou so boie? why then it shall be so. I am resolude to win the crowne, or die Q. 36, 37. Brother . enterprise] 30-33. And Richard thou to London strait shalt post, And bid Richard Neuill Earle of Warwike To leave the cittie and with his men of warre, To meet me at Saint Albons ten daies hence Q. 38, 39. Thou, Richard. intent] 27-29. Thou cosen Montague, shalt to Norffolke straight, and bid the Duke to muster uppe his souldiers, And come to me to Wakefield presentlie Q. Lord .. rise] 25, 26. Edward, thou shalt to Edmund Brooke Lord. 42-47. In them... Lancaster] omitted Q.

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30. circuit] "circlet" or "circulet" is Spenser's word in Mother Hubberds Tale; "Circulet of Golde" and "golden Circlet" both occur (11. 640643). See " golden circuit on my head" (2 Henry VI. III. i. 352 and see note). "Round and "rigol" other Shakespearian words for the diadem. "Circuit" is not in the old versions of these plays.

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34. lukewarm blood] "lukewarm water occurs in Timon of Athens. "Lukewarm blood" is an expression of Spenser's Faerie Queene, 1. ix. 36, and Visions of Bellay, Sonnet 6, 1591. It is also in Locrine. But the sarcastic touch here is Shakespeare's. The speech here has been magically transformed.

37. whet on] See King John, 1. iv. 181, and 2 Henry VI. II. i. 34. Not the common use, as in "whet your wits,"

,” “whet your malice" (Spenser).


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40, 41. You .:

rise Q.

40. my Lord Cobham] A " special friend" of York's. Grafton associates him with him at the first battle of St. Albans: "So he (Duke of York) beyng in the Marches of Wales, associate with his speciall friendes, the Erles of Sarisbury, and Warwike, the Lorde Cobham and other, assembled an army, and . . . marched toward London" (i. 653). See line 56.

41-43. Kentishmen will willingly rise. full of spirit] See note at 2 Henry VI. IV. vii. 60, 61. When York wished" to cause his great commotion," time of Jack Cade, "the overture of this matter was put forth in Kent," ""because the Kentishemen be impacient in wronges, disdeyning of to much oppression, and ever desirous of newe change, and newe_fanglenesse (Grafton, i. 640). For the "wise and very good policy by which the Kentishmen only, in all England, preserved their ancient liberties an. 1067, see Grafton, i. 155-6.

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44. what resteth more] See below, IV. ii. 13; v. vii. 42, and Taming of

But that I seek occasion how to rise,


And yet the king not privy to my drift,

Nor any of the house of Lancaster?

Enter a Messenger.

But, stay: what news? why com'st thou in such post? Mess. The queen with all the northern earls and lords

Intend here to besiege you in your castle.

She is hard by with twenty thousand men,
And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.


York. Ay, with my sword. What! think'st thou that we fear them?

Edward and Richard, you shall stay with me;

My brother Montague shall post to London :
Let noble Warwick, Cobham, and the rest,
Whom we have left protectors of the king,
With powerful policy strengthen themselves,
And trust not simple Henry nor his oaths.


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post?] 36.

my lord] 37-41.

47. Enter ] Enter Gabriel Ff. 48. Enter... But Now, what newes? Enter Q. 49-52. The queen My lord, the Queene with thirtie thousand men, Accompanied with the Earles of Cumberland, Northumberland and Westmerland, and others of the House of Lancaster, are marching towards Wakefield, To besiedge you in your castell heere Q. 53-61. Ay, with . . . leave] 42, 43. Enter sir John and sir Hugh


Shrew, 1. i. 250. And Promos and Cassandra, Part I. Iv. ii.: "It resteth nowe (unlesse I wronge her much) I keepe my vowe."

46. privy to my drift] So "privy to the plot" (Two Gentlemen of Verona, III. i. 12). "Drift," meaning intention, purpose, is common in Shakespeare. 47. Enter a Messenger] "Enter Gabriel" in Folio. Perhaps Gabriel Spencer, an actor in Henslowe's company in 1598. See again, III. i. I (note).

49. The queen with all the northern earls] Hall (or Grafton) is closely followed: "The Duke by small iourneys came to his Castell of Sandall besyde Wakefielde on Christmasse eue, and there began to assemble his tenantes and friendes. The Queene beyng thereof asserteyned, determined to couple with him while his power was small and his ayde not come: And so, hauyng in her companie, the Prince her sonne, the Dukes of Excester and Sommerset, the Erle of Deuonshire,

the Lorde Clifforde, the Lorde Rosse, and in effect all the Lordes of the Northpart, with xviij thousand men, or, as some write, xxij thousand, marched from Yorke to Wakefield and bad base to the Duke, euen before his Castell, he hauyng with him not fully five thousand persons, determined incontinent to issue out, and to fight with his enemies, and although Sir Dauy Hall, his olde seruaunt and chiefe Counsaylor, aduised him to keepe his Castell and to defend the same a Dauy, Dauy, hast thou loved me so long, and nowe wouldest haue me dishonoured lyke a birde inclosed in a cage wouldest thou that I for dread of a scoldyng woman, whose weapon is onely her tongue and her nayles should enclose myselfe . . my mind is rather to die with honor, than to liue with shame. Therefore auaunce my Banner, in the name of God and saint George, for surely I will fight with them, though I should fight alone" (Grafton, i. 670).


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Mon. Brother, I go; I'll win them, fear it not:
And thus most humbly I do take my leave.




York. Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles,
You are come to Sandal in a happy hour;
The army of the queen mean to besiege us.

Sir John. She shall not need, we'll meet her in the field.
York. What! with five thousand men?

Rich. Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need.

A woman's general; what should we fear?


[A march afar off.

Edw. I hear their drums: let's set our men in order,
And issue forth and bid them battle straight.

York. Five men to twenty! though the odds be great,
I doubt not, uncle, of our victory.
Many a battle have I won in France,

Whenas the enemy hath been ten to one :
Why should I not now have the like success?


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65-67. She

Mortimer. Yorke. A Gods name, let them come, Cosen Montague post you hence: and boies staie you with me (prose) Q. 62-64. Sir John You are come ... mean... us] 44-46. (continued from 43 to York verse) Sir John Your welcome an happie need, we'll. men? Ay, with Lorde, weele A... we fear] 50. A

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• us Q.

for a need] 47-50. She

souldiers uncle? I father
you feare Q.

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neede my 68.

hundred for a need Q. 69, 70. I hear straight] 55. Lets martch awaie, I heare their drums. Exit Q. 71, 72. Five men victory] omitted Q. 73-75. Many a battle. France. Why success] 51-54. Indeed, manie brave battles... Normandie and why should I now doubt of the like successe? I am resolv'd. Come lets goe Q.

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70. bid them battle] Compare "bid it becomes unintelligible to modern base" in extract at line 49. Offer readers. battle. Occurs thrice later in this play, III. iii. 235; v. i. 63 and 77. Marlowe uses the old phrase similarly: "What should we do but bid them battle straight" (Tamburlaine, Part I. II. ii. (14, a)).

74. Whenas] when. A very common word at this date; when divided up as it sometimes is, in old and new editions,

75. Come lets goe] in Q here; has been noted upon already. It occurs four times in Contention, but is always omitted in 2 Henry VI. It belongs to the dismissal of the actors and seems to be a form of stage-direction to be filled up, as it continually is. "Come, my lords, let's go," etc. 2 Henry VI. IV. i. 141.

See note in

SCENE III.-Field of battle between Sandal Castle and


Alarums. Enter RUTLAND, and his Tutor.

Rut. Ah, whither shall I fly to 'scape their hands?
Ah, tutor, look, where bloody Clifford comes !

Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers.

Clif. Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life.
As for the brat of this accursed duke,
Whose father slew my father, he shall die.
Tut. And I, my lord, will bear him company.
Clif. Soldiers, away with him!
Tut. Ah, Clifford, murder not this innocent child,
Lest thou be hated both of God and man!


[Exit, dragged off by Soldiers. Clif. How now! is he dead already? or is it fear

That makes him close his eyes? I'll open them.
Rut. So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch
That trembles under his devouring paws;

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SCENE III. Alarums] Alarmes Q (omitted Ff except at close of last scene). Enter .] Ff; and then Enter the yong Earle of Rutland and his Tutor Q. 1. Rut. Ah, whither .] 1, 2. Tutor. Oh flie my Lord, lets leave the Castell, And flie to Wakefield straight Q. 2. Ah, tutor comes !] 3. Enter Clifford. Rut. O Tutor... comes Q. 3-5. Clif. Chaplain die] 4-6. Clif. Chaplain... that accursed die Q. 6. Tut. And company] omitted Q. 7. Soldiers. him] 9, 10. Soldiers, awaie and drag him hence perforce Awaie with the villaine. Exit the Chaplain Q. 8, 9. Ah, Clifford God and man!] 7, 8. Oh Clifford spare this tender Lord, least Heaven revenge it on thy head: Oh saue his life Q. IO, II. How now! is he dead what dead... them Q. 12. So wretch] paws] omitted Q.


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them] 11, 12. How now, 13. So... lambe Q. 13. That


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quotation from Ovid may easily have been dropped in Q. I do not believe "pent-up means desperate except in the sense that he is a captive lion and fiercer than in a natural state. "Pent up" is in King Lear of "guilt.' But here The Contention Quarto may have suggested it (See at 2 Henry VI. II. iv. 24): "And in thy pent up studie rue my shame"-a passage by Shakespeare, who loved such transpositions-meaning "And pent up in thy study," etc. See Richard III. Iv. iii. 36: "The son of Clarence have I pent up close."

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