Henry VI, Part 3

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Henry VI, Part 3 (c. 1591) is the third of William Shakespeare's plays set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. The play deals primarily with the horrors of the Wars of the Roses conflict, with the once stable nation thrown into chaos and barbarism as families break down and moral codes are subverted in the pursuit of revenge and power.

Act I

  • I am your butt, and I abide your shot.
    • Richard Plantagenet, scene i

  • Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
    In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
    • Westmorland, scene i

  • How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown,
    Within whose circuit is Elysium,
    And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
    • Richard of Gloucester, scene ii

  • O, tiger's heart, wrapped in a woman's hide!
    • York, scene iv

  • Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible,
    Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless!
    • York, scene iv

Act II

  • And many strokes, though with a little axe,
    Hew down and fell the hardest-timber'd oak.
    • Messenger, scene i

  • To weep, is to make less the depth of grief:
    Tears, then, for babes; blows, and revenge for me!
    • Richard, scene i

  • The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on.
    • Clifford, scene ii

  • Didst thou never hear
    That things ill got had ever bad success?
    And happy always was it for that son,
    Whose father for his hoarding went to hell?
    • King Henry, scene ii

  • This battle fares like to the morning's war,
    When dying clouds contend with growing light;
    What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
    Can neither call it perfect day, nor night.
    • King Henry, scene v

  • O God! methinks, it were a happy life,
    To be no better than a homely swain;
    To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
    To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
    Thereby to see the minutes how they run:
    How many make the hour full complete,
    How many hours bring about the day,
    How many days will finish up the year,
    How many years a mortal man may live.
    • King Henry, scene v

  • Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade
    To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
    Than doth a rich embroidered canopy
    To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?
    • King Henry, scene v

  • The common people swarm like summer flies.
    • Clifford, scene vi


  • Let me embrace thee, sour adversity;
    For wise men say it is the wisest course.
    • King Henry, scene i

  • I know, I am too mean to be your queen;
    And yet too good to be your concubine.
    • Lady Gray, scene ii

  • Peace, impudent and shameless Warwick, peace!
    Proud setter-up and puller-down of kings!
    • Queen Margaret, scene iii

Act IV

  • Yet hasty marriage seldom proveth well.
    • Richard of Gloucester, scene i

  • What fates impose, that men must needs abide;
    It boots not to resist both wind and tide.
    • King Edward, scene iii

  • Fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns.
    • Richard of Gloucester, scene vii

  • A little fire is quickly trodden out,
    Which being suffer'd, rivers cannot quench.
    • Clarence, scene viii

  • My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds.
    • King Edward, scene viii

Act V

  • Lo, now my glory smear'd in dust and blood!
    My parks, my walks, my manors that I had,
    Even now forsake me; and, of all my lands,
    Is nothing left me, but my body's length!
    Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?
    And, live we how we can, yet die we must.
    • Warwick, scene ii

  • Why, courage, then! what cannot be avoided,
    'Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.
    • Queen Margaret, scene iv

  • Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
    The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
    • Richard of Gloucester, scene vi

  • Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither.
    • Richard of Gloucester, scene vi

  • Then, since the heavens have shap'd my body so,
    Let hell make crook'd my mind to answer it.
    I have no brother, I am like no brother:
    And this word—love, which greybeards call divine,
    Be resident in men like one another,
    And not in me; I am myself alone.
    • Richard of Gloucester, scene vi
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