ACT III
Scene II.
 

London. The palace

Enter KING EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and LADY GREY

KING EDWARD
Brother of Gloucester, at Saint Albans' field
This lady's husband, Sir Richard Grey, was slain,
His land then seiz'd on by the conqueror.
Her suit is now to repossess those lands;
Which we in justice cannot well deny,
Because in quarrel of the house of York
The worthy gentleman did lose his life.

GLOUCESTER
Your Highness shall do well to grant her suit;
It were dishonour to deny it her.

KING EDWARD
It were no less; but yet I'll make a pause.

GLOUCESTER
[Aside to CLARENCE] Yea, is it so?
I see the lady hath a thing to grant,
Before the King will grant her humble suit.

CLARENCE
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] He knows the game; how true he
keeps the wind!

GLOUCESTER
[Aside to CLARENCE] Silence!

KING EDWARD
Widow, we will consider of your suit;
And come some other time to know our mind.

LADY GREY
Right gracious lord, I cannot brook delay.
May it please your Highness to resolve me now;
And what your pleasure is shall satisfy me.

GLOUCESTER
[Aside] Ay, widow? Then I'll warrant you all your
lands,
An if what pleases him shall pleasure you.
Fight closer or, good faith, you'll catch a blow.

CLARENCE
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] I fear her not, unless she chance
to fall.

GLOUCESTER
[Aside to CLARENCE] God forbid that, for he'll take
vantages.

KING EDWARD
How many children hast thou, widow, tell me.

CLARENCE
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] I think he means to beg a child of
her.

GLOUCESTER
[Aside to CLARENCE] Nay, then whip me; he'll rather
give her two.

LADY GREY
Three, my most gracious lord.

GLOUCESTER
[Aside] You shall have four if you'll be rul'd by him.

KING EDWARD
'Twere pity they should lose their father's lands.

LADY GREY
Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it, then.

KING EDWARD
Lords, give us leave; I'll try this widow's wit.

GLOUCESTER
[Aside] Ay, good leave have you; for you will have
leave
Till youth take leave and leave you to the crutch.

[GLOUCESTER and CLARENCE withdraw]

KING EDWARD
Now tell me, madam, do you love your children?

LADY GREY
Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.

KING EDWARD
And would you not do much to do them good?

LADY GREY
To do them good I would sustain some harm.

KING EDWARD
Then get your husband's lands, to do them good.

LADY GREY
Therefore I came unto your Majesty.

KING EDWARD
I'll tell you how these lands are to be got.

LADY GREY
So shall you bind me to your Highness' service.

KING EDWARD
What service wilt thou do me if I give them?

LADY GREY
What you command that rests in me to do.

KING EDWARD
But you will take exceptions to my boon.

LADY GREY
No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.

KING EDWARD
Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to ask.

LADY GREY
Why, then I will do what your Grace commands.

GLOUCESTER
He plies her hard; and much rain wears the marble.

CLARENCE
As red as fire! Nay, then her wax must melt.

LADY GREY
Why stops my lord? Shall I not hear my task?

KING EDWARD
An easy task; 'tis but to love a king.

LADY GREY
That's soon perform'd, because I am a subject.

KING EDWARD
Why, then, thy husband's lands I freely give thee.

LADY GREY
I take my leave with many thousand thanks.

GLOUCESTER
The match is made; she seals it with a curtsy.

KING EDWARD
But stay thee- 'tis the fruits of love I mean.

LADY GREY
The fruits of love I mean, my loving liege.

KING EDWARD
Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense.
What love, thinkst thou, I sue so much to get?

LADY GREY
My love till death, my humble thanks, my prayers;
That love which virtue begs and virtue grants.

KING EDWARD
No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.

LADY GREY
Why, then you mean not as I thought you did.

KING EDWARD
But now you partly may perceive my mind.

LADY GREY
My mind will never grant what I perceive
Your Highness aims at, if I aim aright.

KING EDWARD
To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.

LADY GREY
To tell you plain, I had rather lie in prison.

KING EDWARD
Why, then thou shalt not have thy husband's lands.

LADY GREY
Why, then mine honesty shall be my dower;
For by that loss I will not purchase them.

KING EDWARD
Therein thou wrong'st thy children mightily.

LADY GREY
Herein your Highness wrongs both them and me.
But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
Accords not with the sadness of my suit.
Please you dismiss me, either with ay or no.

KING EDWARD
Ay, if thou wilt say ay to my request;
No, if thou dost say no to my demand.

LADY GREY
Then, no, my lord. My suit is at an end.

GLOUCESTER
The widow likes him not; she knits her brows.

CLARENCE
He is the bluntest wooer in Christendom.

KING EDWARD
[Aside] Her looks doth argue her replete with modesty;
Her words doth show her wit incomparable;
All her perfections challenge sovereignty.
One way or other, she is for a king;
And she shall be my love, or else my queen.
Say that King Edward take thee for his queen?

LADY GREY
'Tis better said than done, my gracious lord.
I am a subject fit to jest withal,
But far unfit to be a sovereign.

KING EDWARD
Sweet widow, by my state I swear to thee
I speak no more than what my soul intends;
And that is to enjoy thee for my love.

LADY GREY
And that is more than I will yield unto.
I know I am too mean to be your queen,
And yet too good to be your concubine.

KING EDWARD
You cavil, widow; I did mean my queen.

LADY GREY
'Twill grieve your Grace my sons should call you father.
KING EDWARD.No more than when my daughters call thee mother.
Thou art a widow, and thou hast some children;
And, by God's Mother, I, being but a bachelor,
Have other some. Why, 'tis a happy thing
To be the father unto many sons.
Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.

GLOUCESTER
The ghostly father now hath done his shrift.

CLARENCE
When he was made a shriver, 'twas for shrift.

KING EDWARD
Brothers, you muse what chat we two have had.

GLOUCESTER
The widow likes it not, for she looks very sad.

KING EDWARD
You'd think it strange if I should marry her.

CLARENCE
To who, my lord?

KING EDWARD
Why, Clarence, to myself.

GLOUCESTER
That would be ten days' wonder at the least.

CLARENCE
That's a day longer than a wonder lasts.

GLOUCESTER
By so much is the wonder in extremes.

KING EDWARD
Well, jest on, brothers; I can tell you both
Her suit is granted for her husband's lands.

Enter a NOBLEMAN

NOBLEMAN
My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken
And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.

KING EDWARD
See that he be convey'd unto the Tower.
And go we, brothers, to the man that took him
To question of his apprehension.
Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honourably.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER
Ay, Edward will use women honourably.
Would he were wasted, marrow, bones, and all,
That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring
To cross me from the golden time I look for!
And yet, between my soul's desire and me-
The lustful Edward's title buried-
Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,
And all the unlook'd for issue of their bodies,
To take their rooms ere I can place myself.
A cold premeditation for my purpose!
Why, then I do but dream on sovereignty;
Like one that stands upon a promontory
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye;
And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
Saying he'll lade it dry to have his way-
So do I wish the crown, being so far off;
And so I chide the means that keeps me from it;
And so I say I'll cut the causes off,
Flattering me with impossibilities.
My eye's too quick, my heart o'erweens too much,
Unless my hand and strength could equal them.
Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard;
What other pleasure can the world afford?
I'll make my heaven in a lady's lap,
And deck my body in gay ornaments,
And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
O miserable thought! and more unlikely
Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns.
Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb;
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
To shrink mine arm up like a wither'd shrub
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick'd bear-whelp
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I, then, a man to be belov'd?
O monstrous fault to harbour such a thought!
Then, since this earth affords no joy to me
But to command, to check, to o'erbear such
As are of better person than myself,
I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
And whiles I live t' account this world but hell,
Until my misshap'd trunk that bear this head
Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
And yet I know not how to get the crown,
For many lives stand between me and home;
And I- like one lost in a thorny wood
That rents the thorns and is rent with the thorns,
Seeking a way and straying from the way
Not knowing how to find the open air,
But toiling desperately to find it out-
Torment myself to catch the English crown;
And from that torment I will free myself
Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry 'Content!' to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Protheus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down.

Exit