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Henry VI, Part 3

Henry VI, Part 3 Translation Act 1, Scene 4

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Alarum. Enter YORK

YORK

The army of the queen hath got the field: My uncles both are slain in rescuing me; And all my followers to the eager foe Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind Or lambs pursued by hunger-starved wolves. My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them: But this I know, they have demean'd themselves Like men born to renown by life or death. Three times did Richard make a lane to me. And thrice cried 'Courage, father! fight it out!' And full as oft came Edward to my side, With purple falchion, painted to the hilt In blood of those that had encounter'd him: And when the hardiest warriors did retire, Richard cried 'Charge! and give no foot of ground!' And cried 'A crown, or else a glorious tomb! A sceptre, or an earthly sepulchre!' With this, we charged again: but, out, alas! We bodged again; as I have seen a swan With bootless labour swim against the tide And spend her strength with over-matching waves.

YORK

The queen's army has won. Both of my uncles died as they were rescuing me. All of my followers turned their backs to the savage enemy and ran away like ships blown away the wind or lambs chased by starving wolves. Only God know what has happened to my sons. But I do know this—they have behaved like men born to be remembered as heroes whether they live or die. Richard tried to get to me three times, and three times he shouted, "Courage, father! Keep fighting!" And Edward came to me just as frequently, with bloodied sword, which was covered with blood of those that had fought him. And when the strongest warriors were falling and fleeing, Richard still shouted, "Charge! And don't let your feet touch the ground!" And he also shouted: "We'll get the crown or we'll go to our graves! A scepter or a tomb!" Hearing this, we charged again. But, sad to say, we were overwhelmed again. It reminded me of when I once saw a swan hopelessly swimming against the tide and using up her strength to swim through waves that were much more powerful than she was. 

A short alarum within

YORK

Ah, hark! the fatal followers do pursue; And I am faint and cannot fly their fury: And were I strong, I would not shun their fury: The sands are number'd that make up my life; Here must I stay, and here my life must end.

YORK

Ah, listen! These enemies who want to kill me are after me. And I am weak and cannot escape their rage. And even if I were strong, I would not flee their rage. The sands in the hourglass of my life are running out. I must stay here, and my life must end here. 

Enter QUEEN MARGARET, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND, PRINCE EDWARD, and Soldiers

YORK

Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland,I dare your quenchless fury to more rage:I am your butt, and I abide your shot.

YORK

Come, blood-thirsty Clifford, violent Northumberland. I dare you to increase your unsatisfied fury to even more rage. I am your target, and I am waiting for your shot. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Surrender to us, proud Plantagenet!

CLIFFORD

Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm,With downright payment, show'd unto my father.Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car,And made an evening at the noontide prick.

CLIFFORD

Yes, we'll show him as much mercy as he showed my father when he brought his sword down on him in one fatal sword-stroke. Now the sun's fallen out of the sky and it's night at noon. 

YORK

My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth A bird that will revenge upon you all: And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven, Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with. Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?

YORK

My dead body may provoke my followers to take revenge on all of you, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. And I prepare for death with that hope. Nothing you torment me with can bother me now. Why aren't you coming for me? What? There are more of you and yet you're afraid?

CLIFFORD

So cowards fight when they can fly no further;So doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons;So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,Breathe out invectives 'gainst the officers.

CLIFFORD

That's how cowards fight when they can no longer run away. That's how doves peck hopelessly at the falcon's piercing claws. And that's how desperate thieves, with no chance of being saved, shout out insults against the officers who arrest them. 

YORK

O Clifford, but bethink thee once again, And in thy thought o'er-run my former time; And, if though canst for blushing, view this face, And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with cowardice Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this!

YORK

Oh, Clifford, use your brain once again, and think over the life I have lived. And, if you can do it without blushing,  look at my face and shut your mouth, rather than calling me a coward when my very frown used to make you feel weak and run away! 

CLIFFORD

I will not bandy with thee word for word,But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one.

CLIFFORD

I won't exchange insults with you back and forth, but I will have a little combat with you and strike you four times for every one time you strike me. 

QUEEN MARGARET

Hold, valiant Clifford! for a thousand causesI would prolong awhile the traitor's life.Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northumberland.

QUEEN MARGARET

Wait, brave Clifford! I would prolong the life of this traitor a little bit longer for a thousand reasons. Anger makes Clifford deaf. Speak, Northumberland. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Hold, Clifford! do not honour him so much To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart: What valour were it, when a cur doth grin, For one to thrust his hand between his teeth, When he might spurn him with his foot away? It is war's prize to take all vantages; And ten to one is no impeach of valour.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Wait, Clifford! Don't give him the honor of letting him prick your finger in combat even if it means you get to stab him through the heart. When a dog shows its teeth, is it brave to put your hand in his mouth when you could just as easily kick him away with your foot? In war, you get to take everything you can. It's not even dishonorable for ten men to attack one. 

They lay hands on YORK, who struggles

CLIFFORD

Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.

CLIFFORD

Yes, yes, so the stupid little bird is trying to get out of the trap.

NORTHUMBERLAND

So doth the cony struggle in the net.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Just like a rabbit struggling to get out of the net. 

YORK

So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty;So true men yield, with robbers so o'ermatch'd.

YORK

And you're just like thieves enjoying the goods they've stolen. And I'm just like a real man, giving up when he knows he is outmatched by petty robbers like you. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

What would your grace have done unto him now?

NORTHUMBERLAND

[To Queen Margaret] What does your grace want done to him now?

QUEEN MARGARET

Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland, Come, make him stand upon this molehill here, That wrought at mountains with outstretched arms, Yet parted but the shadow with his hand. What! was it you that would be England's king? Was't you that revell'd in our parliament, And made a preachment of your high descent? Where are your mess of sons to back you now? The wanton Edward, and the lusty George? And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy, Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies? Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland? Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point, Made issue from the bosom of the boy; And if thine eyes can water for his death, I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal. Alas poor York! but that I hate thee deadly, I should lament thy miserable state. I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York. What, hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death? Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad; And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus. Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance. Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport: York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown. A crown for York! and, lords, bow low to him: Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.

QUEEN MARGARET

Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland, come! Come, make him stand on this molehill here. He reached for mountains with his outstretched arms, but he only managed to obtain the shadow of a mountain. Hey! Wasn't it you who said you would be the king of England? Wasn't it you who threw a fit in our parliament and lectured us about your important ancestors? Where is your quartet of sons now? The wild Edward, and the lustful George? And where's that brave hunchbacked monster, your boy Dicky, that cheered up his dad with his grumbly voice during the fight? And, come to think of it, where is your darling Rutland? Look, York. I stained this napkin with the blood that brave Clifford got from your son's chest with his sword. And if you can cry for his death, I'll offer you this napkin to dry your cheeks with. Oh, poor York! If I didn't hate you so much, I would feel sorry that you're in such bad shape. I beg you, be sad in order to make me happy, York. Has your fiery heart dried up your insides so much that you can't even shed one tear for Rutland's death? Why are you so calm, man? You should be mad! And I will mock you now to make you mad. Stamp your foot, rant, and panic, so I can sing and dance. Oh, I see you won't humor me with such entertainment unless you've been paid. York can't speak unless he wears a crown. A crown for York! And bow low to him, lords. Hold his hands while I place it on his head. 

Putting a paper crown on his head

Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king! Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair, And this is he was his adopted heir. But how is it that great Plantagenet Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath? As I bethink me, you should not be king Till our King Henry had shook hands with death. And will you pale your head in Henry's glory, And rob his temples of the diadem, Now in his life, against your holy oath? O, 'tis a fault too too unpardonable!Off with the crown, and with the crown his head;And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.

Ah, there, sir, now he looks like a king! Yes, this is the man that took King Henry's throne and also the man who was chosen to be his heir. But how is it possible that the great Plantagenet has crowned so quickly? How did he break his sacred promise? I thought you weren't supposed to be king until King Henry had died. And will you wear Henry's glory, stealing the crown from off his head while he's still alive, despite your holy promise? Oh, that's an unforgivable crime! 

[To soldiers] Off with the crown, and with it, off with his head. And, while I rest, take your time to kill him. 

CLIFFORD

That is my office, for my father's sake.

CLIFFORD

I must do the deed, for my father's sake. 

QUEEN MARGARET

Nay, stay; lets hear the orisons he makes.

QUEEN MARGARET

No, wait. Let's hear his prayers. 

YORK

She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France, Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth! How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex To triumph, like an Amazonian trull, Upon their woes whom fortune captivates! But that thy face is, visor-like, unchanging, Made impudent with use of evil deeds, I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush. To tell thee whence thou camest, of whom derived, Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless. Thy father bears the type of King of Naples, Of both the Sicils and Jerusalem, Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman. Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult? It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen, Unless the adage must be verified, That beggars mounted run their horse to death. 'Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud; But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small: 'Tis virtue that doth make them most admired; The contrary doth make thee wonder'd at: 'Tis government that makes them seem divine; The want thereof makes thee abominable: Thou art as opposite to every good As the Antipodes are unto us, Or as the south to the septentrion. O tiger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide! How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child, To bid the father wipe his eyes withal, And yet be seen to bear a woman's face? Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible; Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless. Bids't thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish: Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will: For raging wind blows up incessant showers, And when the rage allays, the rain begins. These tears are my sweet Rutland's obsequies: And every drop cries vengeance for his death, 'Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false Frenchwoman.

YORK

You're a French she-wolf, but worse than French wolves, since your tongue is more poisonous than the tooth of a venomous snake. It is so unattractive when women, like Amazonian whores, rejoice in the misery of men brought down by fortune. If your face wasn't like a unchanging mask, hardened by your evil deeds, I would attempt, proud queen, to make you blush. If you weren't shameless, just saying where you came from and who your ancestors are would have been enough disgrace to make you feel ashamed. Your father bears the title of the King of Naples, ruling over Sicily and Jerusalem, too, yet he is not as rich as an English landowner. Has that poor king taught you to curse? It's not necessary, and it doesn't do you any good, proud queen, unless the old saying proves true that beggars on horseback will drive their horses to death. It's usually beauty that makes women proud but God knows that your share of beauty is small. It's usually virtue that makes women admired, but it's the opposite of virtue that makes people stare at you. It's usually self-control that makes women seem heavenly. Your total lack of self-control makes you abominable. You are as opposite to everything that is good as people living on the other side of the world in the Antipodes are to us, or as the south is to the north. Oh, you have a tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's skin! How could you drain the blood of a child and make the father wipe his eyes with it, and still appear to have a woman's face? Women are soft, mild, compassionate and yielding. You are stern, stubborn, hard, violent and without remorse. You ask me to be angry? Well, now your wish will come true. Do you want me to cry? Well, now you'll get what you want. The raging wind blows rain showers up into the air, but when the wind calms down, the rain begins to fall. These tears are my sweet Rutland's funeral prayers, and every drop cries for vengeance for his death against you, cruel Clifford, and you, treacherous Frenchwoman. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Beshrew me, but his passion moves me soThat hardly can I cheque my eyes from tears.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Damn me, but his grief is so moving that I can hardly stop myself from crying. 

YORK

That face of his the hungry cannibals Would not have touch'd, would not have stain'd with blood: But you are more inhuman, more inexorable, O, ten times more, than tigers of Hyrcania. See, ruthless queen, a hapless father's tears: This cloth thou dip'dst in blood of my sweet boy, And I with tears do wash the blood away. Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this: And if thou tell'st the heavy story right, Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears; Yea even my foes will shed fast-falling tears, And say 'Alas, it was a piteous deed!' There, take the crown, and, with the crown, my curse; And in thy need such comfort come to thee As now I reap at thy too cruel hand! Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world: My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads!

YORK

Not even hungry cannibals would have touched Rutland's face or stained it with blood. But you are ten times more inhuman and more relentless than the tigers of Hyrcania. See, ruthless queen, here are the tears of an unfortunate father. With these tears, I wash away the blood from this napkin that you dipped in the blood of my sweet son. You can keep the napkin and go boast of my murder. And if you tell the tragic story right, I swear that the listeners will cry. Yes, even my enemies will cry heavily and they'll say, "Oh, it was a terrible act!" Here, take the crown, and, with the crown also take my curse. I want you to have as much comfort as your too cruel hand is now giving me! Unmerciful Clifford, take me away from this world! My soul will go to heaven and my blood will be on your hands! 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin,I should not for my life but weep with him.To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Even if he were the murderer of all my family, I would cry with him, seeing how his soul is gripped by sorrow. 

QUEEN MARGARET

What, weeping-ripe, my Lord Northumberland?Think but upon the wrong he did us all,And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.

QUEEN MARGARET

What, are you on the verge of tears, my Lord Northumberland? Just think about the wrong he did to all of us, and that will quickly dry your dripping tears. 

CLIFFORD

Here's for my oath, here's for my father's death.

CLIFFORD

Here is what I promised you for killing my father. 

Stabbing him

QUEEN MARGARET

And here's to right our gentle-hearted king.

QUEEN MARGARET

And this is to secure the power of our gentle-hearted king. 

Stabbing him

YORK

Open Thy gate of mercy, gracious God!My soul flies through these wounds to seek out Thee.

YORK

Open your gates of mercy, kind God! My soul flies through these wounds to look for you!

Dies

QUEEN MARGARET

Off with his head, and set it on York gates;So York may overlook the town of York.

QUEEN MARGARET

Off with his head, and put it on the gates of York, so that York's head may look over the town of York. 

Flourish. Exeunt

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Nina romancikova
About the Translator: Nina Romancikova

Nina Romancikova is from Slovakia but her love of literature and theater has brought her to the UK and she has been living and studying there for the past six years. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language at University of Glasgow in 2016. Nina is now finishing her Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and is currently working as a Research Intern at Shakespeare's Globe.