Henry VI Part 3

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Alarum. Enter King Henry alone
fare (v.) 2 go, happen, turn out
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with


This battle fares like to the morning's war,

When dying clouds contend with growing light,
contend (v.) 2 compete, vie, rival

What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
blow (v.) 5 breathe hot breath [on]

Can neither call it perfect day nor night.

Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea

Forced by the tide to combat with the wind;

Now sways it that way, like the self-same sea

Forced to retire by fury of the wind.

Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind;
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water
sometime (adv.) 2 sometimes, now and then

Now one the better, then another best;

Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
tug (v.) contend, vie, strive in opposition

Yet neither conqueror nor conquered;

So is the equal poise of this fell war.
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage
poise (n.) 1 balance of weight, equipoise

Here on this molehill will I sit me down.

To whom God will, there be the victory!

For Margaret my Queen, and Clifford too,

Have chid me from the battle, swearing both
chide (v.), past form chid 4 brusquely command, drive [away] with harsh words

They prosper best of all when I am thence.

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

For what is in this world but grief and woe?

O God! Methinks it were a happy life
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

To be no better than a homely swain;
homely (adj.) 1 plain, simple, ordinary
swain (n.) 2 rustic, country person, shepherd

To sit upon a hill, as I do now;

To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
dial (n.) watch, timepiece, pocket sundial
quaintly (adv.) 2 elaborately, artistically, with skill

Thereby to see the minutes how they run:

How many make the hour full complete,

How many hours bring about the day,
bring about (v.) complete, bring the end to [a period of time]

How many days will finish up the year,

How many years a mortal man may live.

When this is known, then to divide the times:

So many hours must I tend my flock,

So many hours must I take my rest,

So many hours must I contemplate,
contemplate (v.) pray, meditate, engage in contemplation

So many hours must I sport myself,
sport (v.) 2 amuse, entertain, divert

So many days my ewes have been with young,

So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean,
ean (v.) bring forth lambs
fool (n.) 1 [term of endearment or pity] dear, darling, innocent creature

So many years ere I shall shear the fleece.

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

Passed over to the end they were created,
end (n.) 1 purpose, aim, design

Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.

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

Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade

To shepherds looking on their silly sheep
silly (adj.) 1 helpless, defenceless, vulnerable

Than doth a rich embroidered canopy

To kings that fear their subjects' treachery?

O yes, it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.

And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,
curd (n.) type of foodstuff derived from milk

His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,

His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
wonted (adj.) accustomed, usual, customary

All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
secure (adv.) safely, free from anxiety

Is far beyond a prince's delicates,
delicate (n.) delicacy, luxury, delight

His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
viand (n.) (usually plural) food, victuals, foodstuff

His body couched in a curious bed,
curious (adj.) 1 finely made, skilfully wrought, elaborate

When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.
wait on / upon (v.) 1 accompany, attend

Alarum. Enter at one door a Son that hath killed his

father, with the dead body in his arms


Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

This man whom hand to hand I slew in fight

May be possessed with some store of crowns;
possess (v.) 3 put in possession, endow
store (n.) 1 abundance, plenty, surplus, quantity

And I, that haply take them from him now,
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count

May yet ere night yield both my life and them

To some man else, as this dead man doth me. –

Who's this? O God! It is my father's face,

Whom in this conflict I, unwares, have killed.
unwares (adv.) unawares, unknowingly, unintentionally

O, heavy times, begetting such events!
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

From London by the King was I pressed forth;
press (v.) 1 levy, raise, conscript

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

Came on the part of York, pressed by his master;
part (n.) 2 side, camp, party
press (v.) 1 levy, raise, conscript

And I, who at his hands received my life,

Have by my hands of life bereaved him.
bereave (v.) 1 take away [from], deprive, deny, rob

Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did!

And pardon, father, for I knew not thee!
know (v.) 2 recognize

My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks;

And no more words till they have flowed their fill.


O, piteous spectacle! O, bloody times!

Whiles lions war and battle for their dens,

Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.
abide (v.) 1 endure, undergo, face

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

And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,

Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharged with grief.
overcharged (adj.) 1 overburdened, overtaxed, overwrought

Enter at another door a Father that hath killed his

son, with the dead body in his arms


Thou that so stoutly hath resisted me,

Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold;

For I have bought it with an hundred blows.

But let me see: is this our foeman's face?

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

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

Throw up thine eye! See, see what showers arise,

Blown with the windy tempest of my heart,

Upon thy wounds, that kills mine eye and heart!

O, pity, God, this miserable age!

What stratagems, how fell, how butcherly,
butcherly (adv.) brutally, cruelly, savagely
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage
stratagem (n.) 3 deed of violence, bloody act

Erroneous, mutinous, and unnatural,
erroneous (adj.) 2 criminal, wicked, evil
unnatural (adj.) 2 abnormal, monstrous, aberrant

This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!
beget (v.), past form begot 2 produce, engender, give rise to

O boy, thy father gave thee life too soon,

And hath bereft thee of thy life too late!
bereave (v.) 1 take away [from], deprive, deny, rob
late (adv.) recently, a little while ago / before


Woe above woe! Grief more than common grief!

O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
ruthful (adj.) piteous, lamentable, woeful
stay (v.) 8 stop, prevent, end

O, pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!

The red rose and the white are on his face,

The fatal colours of our striving houses;
fatal (adj.) 1 ominous, full of foreboding, doom-laden

The one his purple blood right well resembles;
purple (adj.) bright-red, blood-coloured, bloody

The other his pale cheeks, methinks, presenteth.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count
present (v.) 1 symbolize, represent, suggest

Wither one rose, and let the other flourish;

If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.
contend (v.) 1 fight, engage in combat, struggle


How will my mother for a father's death

Take on with me and ne'er be satisfied!
satisfy (v.) 3 appease, content, comfort
take on (v.) 1 behave, act; or: rage, rant


How will my wife for slaughter of my son

Shed seas of tears and ne'er be satisfied!


How will the country for these woeful chances
chance (n.) 1 event, occurrence, situation [especially, bad]

Misthink the King and not be satisfied!
misthink (v.) think ill of, have a bad opinion about


Was ever son so rued a father's death?


Was ever father so bemoaned his son?


Was ever king so grieved for subjects' woe?

Much is your sorrow; mine ten times so much.


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

Exit with the body of his father


These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet;
winding-sheet (n.) burial cloth, shroud

My heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulchre,

For from my heart thine image ne'er shall go;

My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell;

And so obsequious will thy father be,
obsequious (adj.) 1 dutiful [without suggesting servility]; appropriate after a death

Even for the loss of thee, having no more,

As Priam was for all his valiant sons.

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

For I have murdered where I should not kill.

Exit with the body of his son


Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,
overgone (adj.) worn out, overcome, exhausted

Here sits a king more woeful than you are.

Alarums. Excursions. Enter the Queen, Prince, and



Fly, father, fly! For all your friends are fled,

And Warwick rages like a chafed bull.
chafed (adj.) enraged, irritated, angered

Away! For death doth hold us in pursuit.


Mount you, my lord; towards Berwick post amain.
amain (adv.) 1 in all haste, at full speed
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast

Edward and Richard, like a brace of greyhounds
brace (n.) 1 group of two, couple, pair See Topics: Numbers

Having the fearful flying hare in sight,

With fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath,
very (adj.) 1 [intensifying] thorough-going, absolute

And bloody steel grasped in their ireful hands,
ireful (adj.) wrathful, angry, furious
steel (n.) 2 weapon of steel, sword

Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain.
amain (adv.) 1 in all haste, at full speed


Away! For vengeance comes along with them;

Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed;
expostulate (v.) 1 expound, debate, discourse
stay (v.) 2 linger, tarry, delay

Or else come after; I'll away before.


Nay, take me with thee, good sweet Exeter;

Not that I fear to stay, but love to go

Whither the Queen intends. Forward! Away!
intend (v.) 6 plan to go, direct one's course


  Previous scene     Next scene