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Act II, SCENE 1
The scene is a plain near Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire just
after the battle and indicates the confusion after the fighting that
has gone on. Edward and Richard do not know about their father's
fate. Edward expresses his concern about the whereabouts of his
father, whether he had been killed or whether he had escaped.
Richard says he cannot rejoice until he hears news about his
father's safety. Richard praises his father's valor and says his
enemies fled away from his brave and warlike father. He considers
it a great blessing to be the son of such a warrior father. He
becomes philosophical when he says how the morning opens her
golden gates and takes her farewell of the glorious sun resembling
the romantic prances of a lovelorn youth. After he says this, three
suns appear in the air and Edward cannot believe his eyes.
Richard assures him that they are indeed three suns placed in a
clear shining sky and they join, embrace and seem to kiss as if they
are taking some inviolable oath. They become one lamp, one light
and one sun. Edward takes this as a premonition and says that
some superior force is inspiring them to join their lights together
and over shine the earth as this the world. He decides to bear on his
light shield three fair-shining suns. Richard says that since Edward
has a weakness for the fair sex, he can breed three daughters. A
messenger enters and announces the death of York. Edward says
he wants to hear no more but Richard wants to know how York
died. The messenger gives an account of what had happened and
says that York was like Hercules standing against the Greeks and
preventing them from entering Troy.
On hearing this sad news, Edward breaks into stormy passions and
says with the departure of their beloved father, they have no badge
and a leader. He condemns Clifford for killing York, who he says
is the flower of Europe. He laments in despair and says that he can
never find joy and peace again in his life. Richard reacts with
violence and threats of retribution. Tears are meant for babies and
blows and revenge are meant for men like him.
Edward says that he is now Duke and Richard objects and says if
Edward is really the son of York then he must show his princely
descent by going all the way and becoming king. Warwick enters
and tells them that he had heard the news already. He then tells
them what occurred after York's death at Wakefield, and how he
had gone with an army to intercept the Queen as he had been
informed by his scouts that the Queen was coming with a full
intent to dash their late decree in Parliament. On the battlefield,
both the armies fought fiercely, but Warwick's soldiers had no
heart to fight; whether it was the King's kind attitude, the Queen's
success or fear of Clifford's wrath, he did not know.
Richard says that until then he had only heard of Warwick's
victories and that he is disappointed. Warwick says his hands are
strong enough to pluck the diadem from Henry's head and pull
away the scepter from his fist had Henry been a bold warrior but it
is Henry's mild, peaceful attitude that prevents him from doing so.
Richard apologizes for his hasty rebuke and says it is only due to
his helplessness and desperate condition that he is forced to speak
this way. He asks Warwick what should be done, whether they
should go and remove their steel coats and puts on mourning
gowns and pray or should they fight to the last and win their
enemies. Warwick says he has come to help them in this crucial
state and is attended to by his brother Montague also.
The Queen, Clifford, Northumberland and others have gone to
London to rescind the King's oath and make strong the house of
Lancaster. Warwick suggests that they march to London with their
combined army of twenty thousand and fight the Queen's army.
Edward says he shall lean on Warwick's shoulders so that he shall
be well protected and shall fall only when Warwick perishes.
Warwick proclaims that Edward shall be the next ruler of England
and he who shall not throw his cap for joy shall be beheaded.
Richard vows to kill Clifford who has a heart of steel. A messenger
brings the news that the Queen is seeking the speedy counsel of
Warwick for some urgent matter.
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