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Read The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Part 181

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His trespa.s.s yet lives guilty in thy blood; And till thou be restor’d thou art a yeoman.

PLANTAGENET. My father was attached, not attainted; Condemn’d to die for treason, but no traitor; And that I’ll prove on better men than Somerset, Were growing time once ripened to my will.

For your partaker Pole, and you yourself, I’ll note you in my book of memory To scourge you for this apprehension.

Look to it well, and say you are well warn’d.

SOMERSET. Ay, thou shalt find us ready for thee still; And know us by these colours for thy foes For these my friends in spite of thee shall wear.

PLANTAGENET. And, by my soul, this pale and angry rose, As cognizance of my blood-drinking hate, Will I for ever, and my faction, wear, Until it wither with me to my grave, Or flourish to the height of my degree.

SUFFOLK. Go forward, and be chok’d with thy ambition!

And so farewell until I meet thee next. Exit SOMERSET. Have with thee, Pole. Farewell, ambitious Richard. Exit PLANTAGENET. How I am brav’d, and must perforce endure it!

WARWICK. This blot that they object against your house Shall be wip’d out in the next Parliament, Call’d for the truce of Winchester and Gloucester; And if thou be not then created York, I will not live to be accounted Warwick.

Meantime, in signal of my love to thee, Against proud Somerset and William Pole, Will I upon thy party wear this rose; And here I prophesy: this brawl to-day, Grown to this faction in the Temple Garden, Shall send between the Red Rose and the White A thousand souls to death and deadly night.

PLANTAGENET. Good Master Vernon, I am bound to you That you on my behalf would pluck a flower.

VERNON. In your behalf still will I wear the same.

LAWYER. And so will I.

PLANTAGENET. Thanks, gentle sir.

Come, let us four to dinner. I dare say This quarrel will drink blood another day. Exeunt

SCENE 5.

The Tower of London

Enter MORTIMER, brought in a chair, and GAOLERS

MORTIMER. Kind keepers of my weak decaying age, Let dying Mortimer here rest himself.

Even like a man new haled from the rack, So fare my limbs with long imprisonment; And these grey locks, the pursuivants of death, Nestor-like aged in an age of care, Argue the end of Edmund Mortimer.

These eyes, like lamps whose wasting oil is spent, Wax dim, as drawing to their exigent; Weak shoulders, overborne with burdening grief, And pithless arms, like to a withered vine That droops his sapless branches to the ground.

Yet are these feet, whose strengthless stay is numb, Unable to support this lump of clay, Swift-winged with desire to get a grave, As witting I no other comfort have.

But tell me, keeper, will my nephew come?

FIRST KEEPER. Richard Plantagenet, my lord, will come.

We sent unto the Temple, unto his chamber; And answer was return’d that he will come.

MORTIMER. Enough; my soul shall then be satisfied.

Poor gentleman! his wrong doth equal mine.

Since Henry Monmouth first began to reign, Before whose glory I was great in arms, This loathsome sequestration have I had; And even since then hath Richard been obscur’d, Depriv’d of honour and inheritance.

But now the arbitrator of despairs, Just Death, kind umpire of men’s miseries, With sweet enlargement doth dismiss me hence.

I would his troubles likewise were expir’d, That so he might recover what was lost.

Enter RICHARD PLANTAGENET

FIRST KEEPER. My lord, your loving nephew now is come.

MORTIMER. Richard Plantagenet, my friend, is he come?

PLANTAGENET. Ay, n.o.ble uncle, thus ign.o.bly us’d, Your nephew, late despised Richard, comes.

MORTIMER. Direct mine arms I may embrace his neck And in his bosom spend my latter gasp.

O, tell me when my lips do touch his cheeks, That I may kindly give one fainting kiss.

And now declare, sweet stem from York’s great stock, Why didst thou say of late thou wert despis’d?

PLANTAGENET. First, lean thine aged back against mine arm; And, in that ease, I’ll tell thee my disease.

This day, in argument upon a case, Some words there grew ‘twixt Somerset and me; Among which terms he us’d his lavish tongue And did upbraid me with my father’s death; Which obloquy set bars before my tongue, Else with the like I had requited him.

Therefore, good uncle, for my father’s sake, In honour of a true Plantagenet, And for alliance sake, declare the cause My father, Earl of Cambridge, lost his head.

MORTIMER. That cause, fair nephew, that imprison’d me And hath detain’d me all my flow’ring youth Within a loathsome dungeon, there to pine, Was cursed instrument of his decease.

PLANTAGENET. Discover more at large what cause that was, For I am ignorant and cannot guess.

MORTIMER. I will, if that my fading breath permit And death approach not ere my tale be done.

Henry the Fourth, grandfather to this king, Depos’d his nephew Richard, Edward’s son, The first-begotten and the lawful heir Of Edward king, the third of that descent; During whose reign the Percies of the north, Finding his usurpation most unjust, Endeavour’d my advancement to the throne.

The reason mov’d these warlike lords to this Was, for that-young Richard thus remov’d, 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, third son To King Edward the Third; whereas he From John of Gaunt doth bring his pedigree, Being but fourth of that heroic line.

But mark: as in this haughty great 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, Thy father, Earl of Cambridge, then deriv’d 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 n.o.ble earl, And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers, In whom the t.i.tle rested, were suppress’d.

PLANTAGENET. Of Which, my lord, your honour is the last.

MORTIMER. 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.

PLANTAGENET. Thy grave admonishments prevail with me.

But yet methinks my father’s execution Was nothing less than b.l.o.o.d.y tyranny.

MORTIMER. With silence, nephew, be thou politic; Strong fixed is the house of Lancaster And like a mountain not to be remov’d.

But now thy uncle is removing hence, As princes do their courts when they are cloy’d With long continuance in a settled place.

PLANTAGENET. O uncle, would some part of my young years Might but redeem the pa.s.sage of your age!

MORTIMER. Thou dost then wrong me, as that slaughterer doth Which giveth many wounds when one will kill.

Mourn not, except thou sorrow for my good; Only give order for my funeral.

And so, farewell; and fair be all thy hopes, And prosperous be thy life in peace and war! [Dies]

PLANTAGENET. And peace, no war, befall thy parting soul!

In prison hast thou spent a pilgrimage, And like a hermit overpa.s.s’d thy days.

Well, I will lock his counsel in my breast; And what I do imagine, let that rest.

Keepers, convey him hence; and I myself Will see his burial better than his life.

Exeunt GAOLERS, hearing out the body of MORTIMER Here dies the dusky torch of Mortimer, Chok’d with ambition of the meaner sort; And for those wrongs, those bitter injuries, Which Somerset hath offer’d to my house, I doubt not but with honour to redress; And therefore haste I to the Parliament, Either to be restored to my blood, Or make my ill th’ advantage of my good. Exit

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ACT III. SCENE 1.

London. The Parliament House

Flourish. Enter the KING, EXETER, GLOUCESTER, WARWICK, SOMERSET, and SUFFOLK; the BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, RICHARD PLANTAGENET, and others.

GLOUCESTER offers to put up a bill; WINCHESTER s.n.a.t.c.hes it, and tears it

WINCHESTER. Com’st thou with deep premeditated lines, With written pamphlets studiously devis’d?

Humphrey of Gloucester, if thou canst accuse Or aught intend’st to lay unto my charge, Do it without invention, suddenly; I with sudden and extemporal speech Purpose to answer what thou canst object.

GLOUCESTER. Presumptuous priest, this place commands my patience, Or thou shouldst find thou hast dishonour’d me.

Think not, although in writing I preferr’d The manner of thy vile outrageous crimes, That therefore I have forg’d, or am not able Verbatim to rehea.r.s.e the method of my pen.

No, prelate; such is thy audacious wickedness, Thy lewd, pestiferous, and dissentious pranks, As very infants prattle of thy pride.

Thou art a most pernicious usurer; Froward by nature, enemy to peace; Lascivious, wanton, more than well beseems A man of thy profession and degree; And for thy treachery, what’s more manifest In that thou laid’st a trap to take my life, As well at London Bridge as at the Tower?

Beside, I fear me, if thy thoughts were sifted, The King, thy sovereign, is not quite exempt From envious malice of thy swelling heart.

WINCHESTER. Gloucester, I do defy thee. Lords, vouchsafe To give me hearing what I shall reply.

If I were covetous, ambitious, or perverse, As he will have me, how am I so poor?

Or how haps it I seek not to advance Or raise myself, but keep my wonted calling?

And for dissension, who preferreth peace More than I do, except I be provok’d?

No, my good lords, it is not that offends; It is not that that incens’d hath incens’d the Duke: It is because no one should sway but he; No one but he should be about the King; And that engenders thunder in his breast And makes him roar these accusations forth.

But he shall know I am as good GLOUCESTER. As good!

———-

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