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

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pg 3612.5Sc. 9

Editor’s NoteAlarum. Enter King Henry alone

king henry This battle fares like to the morning's war,

2    When dying clouds contend with growing light:

Editor’s Note3What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,

4    Can neither call it perfect day nor night.

5Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea

6    Forced by the tide to combat with the wind.

7Now sways it that way, like the selfsame sea

8    Forced to retire by fury of the wind.

Editor’s Note9Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind,

10Now one the better, then another best,

11Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,

12Yet neither conqueror nor conquerèd.

Editor’s Note13So is the equal poise of this fell war.

Editor’s Note14Here on this molehill will I sit me down,

15To whom God will, there be the victory.

16For Margaret my Queen, and Clifford too,

Editor’s Note17Have chid me from the battle, swearing both

Editor’s Note18They prosper best of all when I am thence.

19Would I were dead, if God's good will were so;

20For what is in this world but grief and woe.

21O God! Methinks it were a happy life

Editor’s Note22To be no better than a homely swain,

23To sit upon a hill, as I do now,

Editor’s Note24To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,

25Thereby to see the minutes how they run:

26How many makes the hour full complete,

Editor’s Note27How many hours brings about the day,

28How many days will finish up the year,

29How many years a mortal man may live.

30When this is known, then to divide the times:

31So many hours must I tend my flock,

32So many hours must I take my rest,

33So many hours must I contemplate,

Editor’s Note34So many hours must I sport myself,

35So many days my ewes have been with young,

Editor’s Note36So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean,

37So many months ere [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]

38So many years ere I shall shear the fleece.

39So minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years,

Editor’s Note40Past over to the end they were created,

41Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.

42Ah, what a life were this! How sweet! How lovely!

43Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade

pg 362Editor’s Note44To shepherds, looking on their seely sheep,

Editor’s Note45Than doth a rich embroidered canopy

46To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?

47O yes, it doth; a thousandfold it doth.

48And, to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,

49His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,

Editor’s Note50His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,

Editor’s Note51All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,

Editor’s Note52Is far beyond a prince's delicates:

Editor’s Note53His viands sparkling in a golden cup,

Editor’s Note54His body couchèd in a curious bed,

55When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.

Editor’s NoteAlarum. Enter a Son that hath killed his father at one door
Editor’s Note56

son Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.

57This man whom hand to hand I slew in fight

Editor’s Note58May be possessèd with some store of crowns;

Editor’s Note59And I that haply take them from him now

60May yet ere night yield both my life and them

61To some man else, as this dead man doth me.—

Editor’s Note62Who's this? [Recognizing his father] O God! It is my father's face,

Editor’s Note63Whom in this conflict, I, unwares, have killed.

64O heavy times, begetting such events!

Editor’s Note65From London by the King was I pressed forth.

66My father, being the Earl of Warwick's man,

Editor’s Note67Came on the part of York, pressed by his master.

68And I, who at his hands received my life,

Editor’s Note69Have, by my hands, of life bereavèd him.

Editor’s Note70Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did;

71And pardon, father, for I knew not thee.

72My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks,

73And no more words till they have flowed their fill.

[He weeps]

king henry O piteous spectacle! O bloody times!

75Whiles lions war, and battle for their dens,

Editor’s Note76Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.

77Weep, wretched man; I'll aid thee tear for tear;

78And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,

Editor’s Note79Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharged with grief.

[He weeps] Editor’s NoteEnter Father, bearing of his son [that he hath killed, at another door]

father Thou that so stoutly hath resisted me,

81Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold;

82For I have bought it with an hundred blows.

pg 36383But let me see, is this our foeman's face?—

84Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son!

85Ah, boy, if any life be left in thee,

Editor’s Note86Throw up thine eye. See, see, what showers arise,

87Blown with the windy tempest of my heart,

88Upon thy wounds, that kills mine eye and heart.

Editor’s Note89O pity, God, this miserable age!

Editor’s Note90What stratagems, how fell, how butcherly,

Editor’s Note91Erroneous, mutinous, and unnatural

92This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!

Editor’s Note93O boy, thy father gave thee life too soon,

Editor’s Note94And hath bereft thee of thy life too late.


king henry Woe above woe! Grief more than common grief!

Editor’s Note96O, that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!

97O, pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!

Editor’s Note98The red rose and the white are on his face,

99The fatal colours of our striving houses.

100The one his purple blood right well resembles;

Editor’s Note101The other his pale cheeks, methinks, presenteth.

Editor’s Note102Wither one rose, and let the other flourish!

103If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.


son How will my mother, for a father's death,

Editor’s Note105Take on with me, and ne'er be satisfied!


father How will my wife, for slaughter of my son,

107Shed seas of tears, and ne'er be satisfied!

Editor’s Note108

king henry How will the country, for these woeful chances,

Editor’s Note Link 109Misthink the King, and not be satisfied!

Editor’s Note110

son Was ever son so rued a father's death?


father Was ever father so bemoaned his son?


king henry Was ever king so grieved for subjects' woe?

113Much is your sorrow, mine ten times so much.


son I'll bear thee hence where I may weep my fill.

[Exit bearing his dead father]

father These arms of mine shall be thy winding sheet.

116My heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulchre,

117For from my heart thine image ne'er shall go.

118My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell,

Editor’s Note119And so obsequious will thy father be,

120Even for the loss of thee, having no more,

Editor’s Note121As Priam was for all his valiant sons.

122I'll bear thee hence; and let them fight that will,

123For I have murdered where I should not kill.

Exit [bearing his dead son]
pg 364 Editor’s Note124

king henry Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,

125Here sits a king more woeful than you are.

Alarums. Excursions. Enter the Queen, the Prince, and Exeter

prince edward Fly, father, fly, for all your friends are fled,

Editor’s Note127And Warwick rages like a chafèd bull.

128Away, for death doth hold us in pursuit.

Editor’s Note129

queen Mount you, my lord! Towards Berwick post amain.

Editor’s Note130Edward and Richard, like a brace of greyhounds,

131Having the fearful-flying hare in sight,

132With fiery eyes, sparkling for very wrath,

133And bloody steel grasped in their ireful hands,

134Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain!


exeter Away, for vengeance comes along with them.

Editor’s Note136Nay, stay not to expostulate. Make speed!—

137Or else come after; I'll away before.


king henry Nay, take me with thee, good, sweet Exeter—

139Not that I fear to stay, but love to go

140Whither the Queen intends. Forward, away!


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
9.0 Alarum signals that the battle continues offstage
Editor’s Note
9.0 alone highlights Henry's unexpected detachment
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9.3 What time when
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9.3 blowing of his nails i.e. blowing on his fingers (for warmth)
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9.9 flood sea, tide
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9.13 poise balance
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9.13 fell cruel
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9.14 this molehill See 4.67.
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9.17 chid me scolded me away
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9.18 thence away from there
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9.22 homely swain simple shepherd
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9.24 dials sundials
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9.24 quaintly carefully, artfully
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9.27 brings about make up
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9.34 sport amuse
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9.36 poor fools innocent creatures
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9.36 ean give birth to lambs
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9.40 end they purpose for which they
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9.44 seely innocent; helpless
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9.45 canopy (of a king's bed or throne, or as carried over him in a procession)
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9.50 wonted accustomed
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9.51 secure free from care
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9.52 delicates luxuries
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9.53 viands food
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9.54 curious elaborately decorated
Editor’s Note
9.55.1 Enter … door Alternatively, the father who has killed his son also enters here, instead of after 9.79, to form a silent tableau while the living son who has killed his father speaks. Either way, the staging might bring out the episode's emblematic, non-realistic quality.
Editor’s Note
9.55.1 that … father The son carries on stage his father's body, as yet unrecognized.
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9.56 Ill … nobody proverbial
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9.58 crowns gold or silver coins
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9.59 haply by chance, if I'm lucky
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9.62 Recognizing his father The son is intent on robbing the body before realizing that it is his father's.
Editor’s Note
9.63 unwares unwittingly
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9.65 pressed compelled, drafted
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9.67 part side
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9.69 bereavèd deprived
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9.7–8 Pardon … thee echoes Christ's dying words, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34)
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9.76 abide endure
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9.79 o'ercharged overloaded
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9.79.2 Enter … door. See note to 9.55.1.
Editor’s Note
9.86 Throw up i.e. open
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9.89 O … age! He weeps, and may kneel in prayer over or by the body.
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9.90 stratagems violent acts
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9.91 Erroneous criminal
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9.93 too soon too hastily, i.e. without reflecting on the consequences
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9.94 bereft deprived
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9.94 too late too recently; too late to remedy it
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9.96 ruthful pitiful
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9.98 The red rose and the white emblems of the houses of Lancaster and York; but here emblems of the struggle between life and death as seen in the Father's complexion
Editor’s Note
9.101 presenteth represents, resembles
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9.102 Wither one rose i.e. let either the red or the white rose wither
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9.105 Take on with rave at, rage at
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9.105 satisfied comforted, appeased
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9.108 for on account of
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9.108 chances events, outcomes
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9.109 Misthink think badly of
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9.110 rued regretted
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9.119 obsequious dutiful in mourning
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9.121 Priam King of Troy at the time of the Trojan War, whose fifty sons were killed in the city's defence
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9.124 overgone overcome
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9.127 chafèd enraged
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9.129 Berwick (on the Scottish border)
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9.129 post amain ride speedily
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9.130 brace pair
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9.136 expostulate debate the matter
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