Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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2.3Sc. 7

Editor’s NoteAlarum. Excursions. Enter Warwick [wounded]
Editor’s Note1

warwick Forespent with toil, as runners with a race,

Editor’s Note2I lay me down a little while to breathe;

3For strokes received, and many blows repaid,

4Have robbed my strong-knit sinews of their strength,

Editor’s Note5And, spite of spite, needs must I rest awhile.

Enter Edward running
Editor’s Note6

edward Smile gentle heaven, or strike ungentle death,

Editor’s Note7For this world frowns, and Edward's sun is clouded.

Editor’s Note8

warwick How now, my lord, what hap, what hope of good?

Editor’s NoteEnter Clarence

clarence Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair.

10Our ranks are broke, and ruin follows us.

11What counsel give you: whither shall we fly?

Editor’s Note12

edward Bootless is flight; they follow us with wings,

13And weak we are, and cannot shun pursuit.

Editor’s NoteEnter Richard

richard Ah Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn thyself?

15Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,

Editor’s Note16Broached with the steely point of Clifford's lance;

17And in the very pangs of death he cried,

Editor’s Note18Like to a dismal clangour heard from far,

19'Warwick, revenge; brother, revenge my death!'

20So, underneath the belly of their steeds

Editor’s Note21That stained their fetlocks in his smoking blood,

22The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.


warwick Then let the earth be drunken with our blood.

24I'll kill my horse, because I will not fly.

25Why stand we like soft-hearted women here,

Editor’s Note26Wailing our losses whiles the foe doth rage,

Editor’s Note27And look upon, as if the tragedy

pg 36028Were played in jest by counterfeiting actors?


29Here on my knee, I vow to God above,

30I'll never pause again, never stand still,

31Till either death hath closed these eyes of mine

32Or fortune given me measure of revenge.


edward [kneeling] O Warwick, I do bend my knee with thine,

34And in this vow do chain my soul to thine;

35And, ere my knee rise from the earth's cold face,

36I throw my hands, mine eyes, my heart to Thee,

Editor’s Note37Thou setter-up and plucker-down of kings,

Editor’s Note38Beseeching Thee, if with Thy will it stands

39That to my foes this body must be prey,

40Yet that Thy brazen gates of heaven may ope

41And give sweet passage to my sinful soul.

42Now, lords, take leave until we meet again,

43Where'er it be, in heaven, or in earth.


richard Brother, give me thy hand; and, gentle Warwick,

45Let me embrace thee in my weary arms.

46I, that did never weep, now melt with woe

47That winter should cut off our springtime so.


warwick Away, away! Once more, sweet lords, farewell.


clarence Yet let us all together to our troops,

50And give them leave to fly that will not stay,

Editor’s Note51And call them pillars that will stand to us,

52And, if we thrive, promise them such rewards

53As victors wear at the Olympian games.

Editor’s Note54This may plant courage in their quailing breasts,

55For yet is hope of life and victory:

Editor’s Note Link 56Forslow no longer; make we hence amain.

Editor’s NoteExeunt

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
7.0 Historically, the battle took place at Towton, between York and Leeds, but in performance the location might appear to be immediately outside York's city walls.
Editor’s Note
7.0 Alarum. Excursions Military activity separates Warwick's exit from his re-entrance, as also with Richard between Scs. 7 and 8.
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7.1 Forespent exhausted
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7.2 breathe rest, recover breath
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7.5 spite of … I come what may, I must
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7.6 ungentle ignoble
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7.7 sun i.e. good fortune (alluding to Edward's sun emblem; cf. 2.1.21–40)
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7.8 hap fortune
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7.8.1 Enter Clarence He might enter running, like Edward, or more slowly, reflecting his 'despair' (7.9).
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7.12 Bootless useless
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7.13.1 Enter Richard He might, like Edward, enter running, and/or with a limp?
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7.16 Broached pierced, set flowing
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7.18 dismal boding disaster
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7.21 smoking steaming
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7.26 whiles while
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7.27 look upon i.e. remain merely spectators
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7.37 Thou … kings based on Daniel 2:21: 'He [God] taketh away kings: he setteth up kings'
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7.38 stands accords
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7.51 stand to support, uphold
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7.54 quailing faltering
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7.56 Forslow delay
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7.56 amain as fast as possible
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7.56.1 Exeunt They leave in different directions if three exits are available.
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