/ Home / Library / Complete Shakespeare / King Henry VI, Part 2 / Act II Scene II
version of this page
King Henry VI, Part 2: Act 2 Scene 2
Scene II London. YORK'S garden.
- [Enter YORK, SALISBURY, and WARWICK]
- Now, my good Lords of Salisbury and Warwick,
- Our simple supper ended, give me leave
- In this close walk to satisfy myself,
- In craving your opinion of my title,
- Which is infallible, to England's crown.
- My lord, I long to hear it at full.
- Sweet York, begin: and if thy claim be good,
- The Nevils are thy subjects to command.
- Then thus:
- Edward the Third, my lords, had seven sons:
- The first, Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Wales;
- The second, William of Hatfield, and the third,
- Lionel Duke of Clarence: next to whom
- Was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster;
- The fifth was Edmund Langley, Duke of York;
- The sixth was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester;
- William of Windsor was the seventh and last.
- Edward the Black Prince died before his father
- And left behind him Richard, his only son,
- Who after Edward the Third's death reign'd as king;
- Till Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster,
- The eldest son and heir of John of Gaunt,
- Crown'd by the name of Henry the Fourth,
- Seized on the realm, deposed the rightful king,
- Sent his poor queen to France, from whence she came,
- And him to Pomfret; where, as all you know,
- Harmless Richard was murder'd traitorously.
- Father, the duke hath told the truth:
- Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.
- Which now they hold by force and not by right;
- For Richard, the first son's heir, being dead,
- The issue of the next son should have reign'd.
- But William of Hatfield died without an heir.
- The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose line
- I claimed the crown, had issue, Philippe, a daughter,
- Who married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March:
- Edmund had issue, Roger Earl of March;
- Roger had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.
- This Edmund, in the reign of Bolingbroke,
- As I have read, laid claim unto the crown;
- And, but for Owen Glendower, had been king,
- Who kept him in captivity till he died.
- But to the rest.
- His eldest sister, Anne,
- My mother, being heir unto the crown
- Married Richard Earl of Cambridge; who was son
- To Edmund Langley, Edward the Third's fifth son.
- By her I claim the kingdom: she was heir
- To Roger Earl of March, who was the son
- Of Edmund Mortimer, who married Philippe,
- Sole daughter unto Lionel Duke of Clarence:
- So, if the issue of the elder son
- Succeed before the younger, I am king.
- What plain proceeding is more plain than this?
- Henry doth claim the crown from John of Gaunt,
- The fourth son; York claims it from the third.
- Till Lionel's issue fails, his should not reign:
- It fails not yet, but flourishes in thee
- And in thy sons, fair slips of such a stock.
- Then, father Salisbury, kneel we together;
- And in this private plot be we the first
- That shall salute our rightful sovereign
- With honour of his birthright to the crown.
- Long live our sovereign Richard, England's king!
- We thank you, lords. But I am not your king
- Till I be crown'd and that my sword be stain'd
- With heart-blood of the house of Lancaster;
- And that's not suddenly to be perform'd,
- But with advice and silent secrecy.
- Do you as I do in these dangerous days:
- Wink at the Duke of Suffolk's insolence,
- At Beaufort's pride, at Somerset's ambition,
- At Buckingham and all the crew of them,
- Till they have snared the shepherd of the flock,
- That virtuous prince, the good Duke Humphrey:
- 'Tis that they seek, and they in seeking that
- Shall find their deaths, if York can prophesy.
- My lord, break we off; we know your mind at full.
- My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick
- Shall one day make the Duke of York a king.
- And, Nevil, this I do assure myself:
- Richard shall live to make the Earl of Warwick
- The greatest man in England but the king.