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Dramatis Personae

Scene: dispersed; in England, Flanders, and France.

Edward III

Act I

Scene I

London. A room of state in the palace.

Flourish. Enter King Edward, attended; Prince of Whales, Warwick, Derby, Audley, Artois, and others.
King Edward

Robert of Artois, banish’d though thou be
From France, thy native country, yet with us
Thou shalt retain as great a signiory;
For we create thee Earl of Richmond here.
And now go forwards with our pedigree;
Who next succeeded Philip Le Beau?

Artois

Three sons of his; which all, successfully,
Did sit upon their father’s regal throne,
Yet died and left no issue of their loins.

King Edward But was my mother sister unto those?
Artois

She was, my lord; and only Isabel
Was all the daughters that this Philip had:
Whom afterward your father took to wife;
And from the fragrant garden of her womb,
Your gracious self, the flower of Europe’s hope,
Derived is inheritor to France.
But note the rancour of rebellious minds.
When thus the lineage of Le Beau was out,
The French obscur’d your mother’s privilege;
And, though she were the next of blood, proclaim’d
John, of the house of Valois, now their king:
The reason was, they say, the realm of France,
Replete with princes of great parentage,
Ought not admit a governor to rule
Except he be descended of the male;
And that’s the special ground of their contempt
Wherewith they study to exclude your grace:
But they shall find that forged ground of theirs
To be but dusty heaps of brittle sand.
Perhaps it will be thought a heinous thing
That I, a Frenchman, should discover this:
But Heaven I call to record of my vows;
It is not hate nor any private wrong,
But love unto my country and the right,
Provokes my tongue thus lavish in report:
You are the lineal watchman of our peace,
And John of Valois indirectly climbs:
What then should subjects, but embrace their king?
And wherein may our duty more be seen,
Than striving to rebate a tyrant’s pride
And place the true shepherd of our commonwealth?

King Edward

This counsel, Artois, like to fruitful showers,
Hath added growth unto my dignity:
And, by the fiery vigour of thy words,
Hot courage is engender’d in my breast,
Which heretofore was rack’d in ignorance,
But now doth mount with golden wings of fame,
And will approve fair Isabel’s descent
Able to yoke their stubborn necks with steel
That spurn against my sovereignty in France.⁠—Sound a horn.
A messenger?⁠—Lord Audley, know from whence. Exit Audley, and returns.

Audley

The Duke of Lorraine, having cross’d the seas,
Entreats he may have conference with your highness.

King Edward Admit him, lords, that we may hear the news.⁠—Exeunt Lords. King takes his state.
Re-enter Lords; with Lorraine, attended.
Say, Duke of Lorraine, wherefore art thou come?
Lorraine

The most renowned prince, King John of France,
Doth greet thee, Edward: and by me commands,
That, for so much as by his liberal gift
The Guyenne dukedom is entail’d to thee,
Thou do him lowly homage for the same:
And, for that purpose, here I summon thee
Repair to France within these forty days,
That there, according as the custom is,
Thou may’st be sworn true liegeman to our king;
Or, else, thy title in that province dies,
And he himself will repossess the place.

King Edward

See, how occasion laughs me in the face!
No sooner minded to prepare for France,
But straight I am invited, nay, with threats,
Upon a penalty, enjoin’d to come:
’Twere but a childish part to say him nay.⁠—
Lorraine, return this answer to thy lord:
I mean to visit him, as he requests;
But how? not servilely dispos’d to bend,
But like a conqueror to make him bow.
His lame unpolish’d shifts are come to light,
And truth hath pull’d the vizard from his face
That set a gloss upon his arrogance.
Dare he command a fealty in me?
Tell him, the crown, that he usurps, is mine,
And where he sets his foot, he ought to kneel:
’Tis not a petty dukedom that I claim,
But all the whole dominions of the realm;
Which if with grudging he refuse to yield,
I’ll take away those borrow’d plumes of his
And send him naked to the wilderness.

Lorraine

Then, Edward, here, in spite of all thy lords,
I do pronounce defiance to thy face.

Prince Edward

Defiance, Frenchman? we rebound it back,
Even to the bottom of thy master’s throat:
And⁠—be it spoke with reverence of the king
My gracious father, and these other lords.⁠—
I hold thy message but as scurrilous,
And him that sent thee, like the lazy drone
Crept up by stealth unto the eagle’s nest;
From whence we’ll shake him with so rough a storm,
As others shall be warned by his harm.

Warwick

Bid him leave of the lion’s case he wears,
Lest, meeting with the lion in the field,
He chance to tear him piecemeal for his pride.

Artois

The soundest counsel I can give his grace
Is to surrender ere he be constrain’d.
A voluntary mischief hath less scorn,
Than when reproach with violence is borne.

Lorraine

Degenerate traitor, viper to the place
Where thou was foster’d in thine infancy, Drawing his sword.
Bear’st thou a part in this conspiracy?

King Edward

Lorraine, behold the sharpness of this steel: Drawing his.
Fervent desire, that sits against my heart,
Is far more thorny-pricking than this blade;
That, with the nightingale, I shall be scar’d,
As oft as I dispose my self to rest,
Until my colours be display’d in France.
This is thy final answer; so be gone.

Lorraine

It is not that, nor any English brave,
Afflicts me so, as doth his poison’d view,
That is most false, should most of all be true. Exeunt Lorraine and Train.

King Edward

Now, lords, our fleeting bark is under sail:
Our gage is thrown, and war is soon begun,
But not so quickly brought unto an end.⁠—

Enter Sir William Mountague.

But wherefore comes Sir William Mountague?
How stands the league between the Scot and us?

Mountague

Crack’d and dissever’d, my renowned lord.
The treacherous king no sooner was inform’d
Of your withdrawing of our army back,
But straight, forgetting of his former oath,
He made invasion on the bordering towns.
Berwick is won; Newcastle spoil’d and lost;
And now the tyrant hath begirt with siege
The castle of Roxborough, where enclos’d
The Countess Salisbury is like to perish.

King Edward

That is thy daughter, Warwick⁠—is it not?⁠—
Whose husband hath in Britain serv’d so long,
About the planting of Lord Mountford there?

Warwick It is, my lord.
King Edward

Ignoble David! hast thou none to grieve,
But silly ladies, with thy threat’ning arms?
But I will make you shrink your snaily horns.⁠—
First, therefore, Audley, this shall be thy charge;
Go levy footmen for our wars in France:
And, Ned, take muster of our men at arms:
In every shire elect a several band.
Let them be soldiers of a lusty spirit,
Such as dread nothing but dishonour’s blot:
Be wary therefore; since we do commence
A famous war and with so mighty a nation.
Derby, be thou ambassador for us
Unto our father-in-law, the Earl of Hainault:
Make him acquainted with our enterprise;
And likewise will him, with our own allies
That are in Flanders, to solicit too
The Emperour of Almaine in our name.
Myself, whilst you are jointly thus employ’d,
Will, with these forces that I have at hand,
March and once more repulse the trait’rous Scot.
But, sirs, be resolute; we shall have wars
On every side; and, Ned, thou must begin
Now to forget thy study and thy books
And ure thy shoulders to an armour’s weight.

Prince Edward

As cheerful sounding to my youthful spleen
This tumult is of war’s increasing broils,
As at the coronation of a king
The joyful clamours of the people are
When, “Ave, Caesar!” they pronounce aloud.
Within this school of honour I shall learn,
Either to sacrifice my foes to death
Or in a rightful quarrel spend my breath.
Then cheerfully forward, each a several way;
In great affairs ’tis naught to use delay. Exeunt.

Scene II

Roxborough. Before the castle.

Enter Countess of Salisbury, and certain of her People, upon the walls.
Countess

Alas, how much in vain my poor eyes gaze
For succour that my sovereign should send!
Ah, cousin Mountague, I fear, thou want’st
The lively spirit sharply to solicit
With vehement suit the king in my behalf:
Thou dost not tell him, what a grief it is
To be the scornful captive of a Scot;
Either to be woo’d with broad untuned oaths,
Or forc’d by rough insulting barbarism:
Thou dost not tell him, if he here prevail,
How much they will deride us in the north;
And, in their wild, uncivil, skipping jigs,
Bray forth their conquest and our overthrow,
Even in the barren, bleak, and fruitless air.

Enter King David and Forces; with Douglas, Lorraine, and others.

I must withdraw; the everlasting foe
Comes to the wall: I’ll closely step aside,
And list their babble, blunt and full of pride. Retiring behind the works.

King David

My Lord of Lorraine, to our brother of France
Commend us, as the man in Christendom
That we most reverence and entirely love.
Touching your embassage, return and say
That we with England will not enter parley
Nor never make fair weather or take truce,
But burn their neighbour towns, and so persist
With eager roads beyond their city York.
And never shall our bonny riders rest,
Nor rusting canker have the time to eat
Their light-borne snaffles nor their nimble spurs;
Nor lay aside their jacks of gymold mail;
Nor hang their staves of grained Scottish ash
In peaceful wise upon their city walls;
Nor from their button’d tawny leathern belts
Dismiss their biting whinyards, till your king
Cry out, Enough; spare England now for pity.
Farewell, and tell him, that you leave us here
Before this castle; say, you came from us
Even when we had that yielded to our hands.

Lorraine

I take my leave, and fairly will return
Your acceptable greeting to my king. Exit.

King David

Now, Douglas, to our former task again,
For the division of this certain spoil.

Douglas My liege, I crave the lady, and no more.
King David

Nay, soft ye, sir, first I must make my choice;
And first I do bespeak her for myself.

Douglas Why, then, my liege, let me enjoy her jewels.
King David

Those are her own, still liable to her,
And, who inherits her, hath those withal.

Enter a Messenger, hastily.
Messenger

My liege, as we were pricking on the hills,
To fetch in booty, marching hitherward
We might descry a might host of men;
The sun, reflecting on the armour, show’d
A field of plate, a wood of pikes advanc’d;
Bethink your highness speedily herein.
An easy march within four hours will bring
The hindmost rank unto this place, my liege.

King David Dislodge, dislodge, it is the King of England.
Douglas Jemmy my man, saddle my bonny black.
King David Mean’st thou to fight? Douglas, we are too weak.
Douglas I know it well, my liege, and therefore fly.
Countess My lords of Scotland, will ye stay and drink? Rising from her concealment.
King David She mocks at us; Douglas, I can’t endure it.
Countess

Say, good my lord, which is he, must have the lady,
And which, her jewels? I am sure, my lords,
Ye will not hence, till you have shar’d the spoils.

King David

She heard the messenger and heard our talk;
And now that comfort makes her scorn at us.

Enter another Messenger.
Messenger Arm, my good lord! O, we are all surpris’d!
Countess

After the French ambassador, my liege,
And tell him that you dare not ride to York;
Excuse it, that your bonny horse is lame.

King David

She heard that too; intolerable grief!⁠—
Woman, farewell: although I do not stay⁠—Exeunt Scots.

Countess

’Tis not for fear⁠—and yet you run away.⁠—
O happy comfort, welcome to our house!
The confident and boist’rous boasting Scot⁠—
That swore before my walls, they would not back
For all the armed power of this land⁠—
With faceless fear that ever turns his back,
Turn’d hence again the blasting north-east wind
Upon the bare report and name of arms.

Enter Mountague, and others.
O summer’s day! see where my cousin comes.
Mountague

How fares my aunt? Why, aunt,1 we are not Scots;
Why do you shut your gates against your friends?

Countess

Well may I give a welcome, cousin, to thee,
For thou com’st well to chase my foes from hence.

Mountague

The king himself is come in person hither;
Dear aunt, descend, and gratulate his highness.

Countess

How may I entertain his majesty,
To show my duty and his dignity? Exit, from above.

Enter King Edward, Warwick, Artois, with others.
King Edward

What, are the stealing foxes fled and gone
Before we could uncouple at their heels?

Warwick

They are, my liege; but, with a cheerful cry,
Hot hounds and hardy chase them at the heels.

Enter Countess.
King Edward This is the countess, Warwick, is it not?
Warwick

Even she, my liege; whose beauty tyrant’s fear,
As a May blossom with pernicious winds,
Hath sullied, wither’d, overcast, and done.

King Edward Hath she been fairer, Warwick, than she is?
Warwick

My gracious king, fair is she not at all,
If that herself were by to stain herself,
As I have seen her when she was herself.

King Edward

What strange enchantment lurk’d in those her eyes
When they excell’d this excellence they have,
That now their dim decline hath power to draw
My subject eyes from persing majesty
To gaze on her with doting admiration?

Countess

In duty lower than the ground I kneel
And for my dull knees bow my feeling heart,
To witness my obedience to your highness;
With many millions of a subject’s thanks
For this your royal presence, whose approach
Hath driven war and danger from my gate.

King Edward

Lady, stand up: I come to bring thee peace,
However thereby I have purchas’d war.

Countess

No war to you, my liege; the Scots are gone,
And gallop home toward Scotland with their hate.

King Edward

Lest yielding here I pine in shameful love,
Come, we’ll pursue the Scots;⁠—Artois, away!

Countess

A little while, my gracious sovereign, stay
And let the power of a mighty king
Honour our roof; my husband in the wars,
When he shall hear it, will triumph for joy:
Then, dear my liege, now niggard not thy state;
Being at the wall, enter our homely gate.

King Edward

Pardon me, countess, I will come no near;
I dream’d to-night of treason, and I fear.

Countess Far from this place let ugly treason lie!
King Edward

No farther off than her conspiring eye,
Which shoots infected poison in my heart
Beyond repulse of wit or cure of art.
Now in the sun alone it doth not lie
With light to take light from a mortal eye;
For here two day-stars, that mine eyes would see,
More than the sun, steals mine own light from me.
Contemplative desire! desire to be
In contemplation, that may master thee!
Warwick, Artois, to horse, and let’s away!

Countess What might I speak, to make my sovereign stay?
King Edward

What needs a tongue to such a speaking eye
That more persuades than winning oratory?

Countess

Let not thy presence, like the April sun,
Flatter our earth and suddenly be done.
More happy do not make our outward wall
Than thou wilt grace our inner house withal.
Our house, my liege, is like a country swain,
Whose habit rude and manners blunt and plain
Presageth nought, yet inly beautified
With bounty’s riches and faire hidden pride:
For, where the golden ore doth buried lie,
The ground, undeck’d with nature’s tapestry,
Seems barren, sere, unfertile, fructless, dry;
And where the upper turf of earth doth boast
His pride, perfumes and parti-colour’d cost,
Delve there, and find this issue and their pride
To spring from ordure and corruption’s side.
But, to make up my all too long compare,
These ragged walls no testimony are,
What is within; but, like a cloak, doth hide,
From weather’s waste, the under-garnish’d pride.
More gracious then my terms can let thee be,
Intreat thyself to stay a while with me.

King Edward

As wise as fair; what fond fit can be heard
When wisdom keeps the gate as beauty’s guard?⁠—
Countess, albeit my business urgeth me,
It shall attend while I attend on thee.⁠—
Come on, my lords, here will I host to-night. Exeunt.

Act II

Scene I

The same. Gardens of the castle.

Enter Lodwick.
Lodwick

I might perceive his eye in her eye lost,
His ear to drink her sweet tongue’s utterance;
And changing passion, like inconstant clouds
That rack upon the carriage of the winds,
Increase and die in his disturbed cheeks.
Lo, when she blush’d, even then did he look pale,
As if her cheeks, by some enchanted power,
Attracted had the cherry blood from his:
Anon, with reverent fear when she grew pale,
His cheeks put on their scarlet ornaments,
But no more like her oriental red,
Than brick to coral or live things to dead.
Why did he then thus counterfeit her looks?
If she did blush, ’twas tender modest shame,
Being in the sacred presence of a king;
If he did blush, ’twas red immodest shame,
To vail his eyes amiss, being a king:
If she look’d pale, ’twas silly woman’s fear,
To bear herself in presence of a king;
If he look’d pale, it was with guilty fear,
To dote amiss, being a mighty king:
Then, Scottish wars, farewell! I fear, ’twill prove
A ling’ring English siege of peevish love.
Here comes his highness, walking all alone.

Enter King Edward.
King Edward

She is grown more fairer far since I came hither;
Her voice more silver every word than other,
Her wit more fluent: what a strange discourse
Unfolded she of David and his Scots!
“Even thus,” quoth she, “he spake,”⁠—and then spoke broad,
With epithites and accents of the Scot;
But somewhat better than the Scot could speak:
“And thus,” quoth she⁠—and answer’d then herself;
For who could speak like her? but she herself
Breathes from the wall an angel’s note from heaven
Of sweet defiance to her barbarous foes.
When she would talk of peace, methinks, her tongue
Commanded war to prison; when of war,
It waken’d Caesar from his Roman grave,
To hear war beautified by her discourse.
Wisdom is foolishness, but in her tongue,
Beauty a slander, but in her fair face:
There is no summer, but in her cheerful looks,
Nor frosty winter, but in her disdain.
I cannot blame the Scots that did besiege her,
For she is all the treasure of our land;
But call them cowards, that they ran away,
Having so rich and fair a cause to stay.⁠—
Art thou there, Lodwick? give me ink and paper.

Lodwick I will, my sovereign.
King Edward

And bid the lords hold on their play at chess,
For we will walk and meditate alone.

Lodwick I will, my liege. Exit.
King Edward

This fellow is well read in poetry
And hath a lusty and persuasive spirit:
I will acquaint him with my passion;
Which he shall shadow with a veil of lawn,
Through which the queen of beauty’s queens shall see
Herself the ground of my infirmity.⁠—

Re-enter Lodwick.
hast thou pen, ink, and paper ready, Lodwick?
Lodwick Ready, my liege.
King Edward

Then in the summer arbour sit by me,
Make it our council-house, or cabinet;
Since green our thoughts, green be the conventicle
Where we will ease us by disburd’ning them.
Now, Lodwick, invocate some golden muse
To bring thee hither an enchanted pen
That may, for sighs, set down true sighs indeed;
Talking of grief, to make thee ready groan;
And, when thou writ’st of tears, encouch the word,
Before and after, with such sweet laments,
That it may raise drops in a Tartar’s eye,
And make a flint-heart Scythian pitiful:
For so much moving hath a poet’s pen;
Then, if thou be a poet, move thou so,
And be enriched by thy sovereign’s love.
For, if the touch of sweet concordant strings
Could force attendance in the ears of hell;
How much more shall the strains of poets’ wit
Beguile and ravish soft and human minds?

Lodwick To whom, my lord, shall I direct my style?
King Edward

To one that shames the fair and sots the wise;
Whose body is an abstract or a brief,
Contains each general virtue in the world.
Better than beautiful, thou must begin;
Devise for fair a fairer word than fair;
And every ornament, that thou wouldst praise,
Fly it a pitch above the soar of praise:
For flattery fear thou not to be convicted;
For, were thy admiration ten times more,
Ten times ten thousand more the worth exceeds,
Of that thou art to praise, thy praise’s worth.
Begin, I will to contemplate the while:
Forget not to set down, how passionate,
How heart-sick, and how full of languishment,
Her beauty makes me.

Lodwick Write I to a woman?
King Edward

What beauty else could triumph over me;
Or who but women, do our love-lays greet?
What, think’st thou I did bid thee praise a horse?

Lodwick

Of what condition or estate she is,
’Twere requisite that I should know, my lord.

King Edward

Of such estate, that hers is as a throne,
And my estate the footstool where she treads:
Then may’st thou judge what her condition is,
By the proportion of her mightiness.
Write on, while I peruse her in my thoughts.

Her voice to music, or the nightingale:
To music every summer-leaping swain
Compares his sun-burnt lover when she speaks:
And why should I speak of the nightingale?
The nightingale sings of adulterate wrong;
And that, compar’d, is too satyrical:
For sin, though sin, would not be so esteem’d;
But, rather, virtue sin, sin virtue deem’d.
Her hair, far softer than the silkworm’s twist,
Like to a flattering glass, doth make more fair
The yellow amber: “like a flattering glass”
Comes in too soon; for, writing of her eyes,
I’ll say, that like a glass they catch the sun,
And thence the hot reflection doth rebound
Against the breast, and burns my heart within.
Ah, what a world of descant makes my soul
Upon this voluntary ground of love!⁠—
Come, Lodwick, hast thou turn’d thy ink to gold?
If not, write but in letters capital
My mistress’ name, and it will gild thy paper.
Read, Lodwick, read;
Fill thou the empty hollows of mine ears
With the sweet hearing of thy poetry.

Lodwick I have not to a period brought her praise.
King Edward

Her praise is as my love, both infinite,
Which apprehend such violent extremes
That they disdain an ending period.
Her beauty hath no match but my affection;
Hers more than most, mine most, and more than more:
Hers more to praise than tell the sea by drops;
Nay, more, than drop the massy earth by sands,
And, sand by sand, print them in memory:
Then wherefore talk’st thou of a period,
To that which craves unended admiration?
Read, let us hear.

Lodwick “More fair and chaste than is the queen of shades,”⁠—
King Edward

That line hath two faults, gross and palpable:
Compar’st thou her to the pale queen of night,
Who, being set in dark, seems therefore light?
What is she, when the sun lifts up his head,
But like a fading taper, dim and dead?
My love shall brave the eye of heaven at noon,
And, being unmask’d, outshine the golden sun.

Lodwick What is the other fault, my sovereign lord?
King Edward Read o’er the line again.
Lodwick “More fair and chaste,”⁠—
King Edward

I did not bid thee talk of chastity,
To ransack so the treasure of her mind;
For I had rather have her chas’d, than chaste.
Out with the moon-line, I will none of it,
And let me have her liken’d to the sun:
Say, she hath thrice more splendour than the sun,
That her perfections emulate the sun,
That she breeds sweets as plenteous as the sun,
That she doth thaw cold winter like the sun,
That she doth cheer fresh summer like the sun,
That she doth dazzle gazers like the sun:
And, in this application to the sun,
Bid her be free and general as the sun;
Who smiles upon the basest weed that grows,
As lovingly as on the fragrant rose.
Let’s see what follows that same moon-light line.

Lodwick

“More fair and chaste than is the queen of shades;
More bold in constancy”⁠—

King Edward In constancy! than who?
Lodwick —“Than Judith was.”
King Edward

O monstrous line! Put in the next a sword,
And I shall woo her to cut of my head.
Blot, blot, good Lodwick! Let us hear the next.

Lodwick There’s all that yet is done.
King Edward

I thank thee then, thou hast done little ill;
But what is done, is passing, passing ill;
No, let the captain talk of boist’rous war;
The prisoner, of immured dark constraint;
The sick man best sets down the pangs of death;
The man that starves, the sweetness of a feast;
The frozen soul, the benefit of fire;
And every grief, his happy opposite:
Love cannot sound well, but in lovers’ tongues;
Give me the pen and paper, I will write.⁠—

Enter Countess.

But soft, here comes the treasurer of my spirit.⁠—
Lodwick, thou know’st not how to draw a battle;
These wings, these flankers, and these squadrons
Argue in thee defective discipline:
Thou shouldest have plac’d this here, this other here.

Countess

Pardon my boldness, my thrice-gracious lord;
Let my intrusion here be call’d my duty,
That comes to see my sovereign how he fares.

King Edward Go, draw the same, I tell thee in what form.
Lodwick I go. Exit.
Countess

Sorry I am, to see my liege so sad:
What may thy subject do, to drive from thee
Thy gloomy consort, sullen melancholy?

King Edward

Ah, lady, I am blunt, and cannot straw
The flowers of solace in a ground of shame:
Since I came hither, countess, I am wrong’d.

Countess

Now, God forbid, that any in my house
Should think my sovereign wrong! Thrice-gentle king,
Acquaint me with your cause of discontent.

King Edward How near then shall I be to remedy?
Countess

As near, my liege, as all my woman’s power
Can pawn itself to buy thy remedy.

King Edward

If thou speak’st true, then have I my redress:
Engage thy power to redeem my joys,
And I am joyful, countess; else, I die.

Countess I will, my liege.
King Edward Swear, countess, that thou wilt.
Countess By Heaven, I will.
King Edward

Then take thyself a little way aside,
And tell thyself, a king doth dote on thee:
Say that within thy power it2 doth lie
To make him happy, and that thou hast sworn
To give him all the joy within thy power:
Do this; and tell me, when I shall be happy.

Countess

All this is done, my thrice-dread sovereign:
That power of love, that I have power to give,
Thou hast with all devout obedience;
Employ me how thou wilt in proof thereof.

King Edward Thou hear’st me say, that I do dote on thee.
Countess

If on my beauty, take it if thou canst;
Though little, I do prize it ten times less:
If on my virtue, take it if thou canst;
For virtue’s store by giving doth augment:
Be it on what it will, that I can give
And thou canst take away, inherit it.

King Edward It is thy beauty that I would enjoy.
Countess

O, were it painted, I would wipe it off
And dispossess myself, to give it thee.
But, sovereign, it is solder’d to my life;
Take one, and both; for, like an humble shadow,
It haunts the sunshine of my summer’s life.

King Edward But thou may’st lend it me to sport withal.
Countess

As easy may my intellectual soul
Be lent away, and yet my body live,
As lend my body, palace to my soul,
Away from her, and yet retain my soul.
My body is her bower, her court, her abbey,
And she an angel, pure, divine, unspotted;
If I should leave her house, my lord, to thee,
I kill my poor soul, and my poor soul me.

King Edward Didst thou not swear, to give me what I would?
Countess I did, my liege; so, what you would, I could.
King Edward

I wish no more of thee than thou may’st give,
Nor beg I do not, but I rather buy;
That is, thy love; and, for that love of thine,
In rich exchange, I tender to thee mine.

Countess

But that your lips were sacred, my lord,
You would profane the holy name of love.
That love, you offer me, you cannot give,
For Caesar owes that tribute to his queen:
That love, you beg of me, I cannot give,
For Sara owes that duty to her lord.
He that doth clip or counterfeit your stamp
Shall die, my lord: and will your sacred self
Commit high treason against the King of Heaven,
To stamp his image in forbidden metal,
Forgetting your allegiance and your oath?
In violating marriage’ sacred law,
You break a greater honour than yourself:
To be a king, is of a younger house
Than to be married; your progenitor,
Sole-reigning Adam on the universe,
By God was honour’d for a married man,
But not by him anointed for a king.
It is a penalty to break your statutes,
Though not enacted with your highness’ hand:
How much more, to infringe the holy act
Made by the mouth of God, seal’d with his hand?
I know, my sovereign⁠—in my husband’s love,
Who now doth loyal service in his wars⁠—
Doth but so try the wife of Salisbury,
Whether she will hear a wanton’s tale, or no;
Lest being therein guilty by my stay,
From that, not from my liege, I turn away. Exit.

King Edward

Whether is her beauty by her words divine,
Or are her words sweet chaplains to her beauty?
Like as the wind doth beautify a sail,
And as a sail becomes the unseen wind,
So do her words her beauty, beauty words.
O, that I were a honey-gathering bee,
To bear the comb of virtue from this flower;
And not a poison-sucking envious spider,
To turn the juice I take to deadly venom!
Religion is austere, and beauty gentle;
Too strict a guardian for so fair a ward.
O, that she were, as is the air, to me!
Why, so she is; for, when I would embrace her,
This do I, and catch nothing but myself.
I must enjoy her; for I cannot beat,
With reason and reproof, fond love away.

Enter Warwick.

Here comes her father: I will work with him,
To bear my colours in this field of love.

Warwick

How is it, that my sovereign is so sad?
May I with pardon know your highness’ grief,
And that my old endeavour will remove it,
It shall not cumber long your majesty.

King Edward

A kind and voluntary gift thou proffer’st,
That I was forward to have begg’d of thee.
But, O thou world, great nurse of flattery,
Why dost thou tip men’s tongues with golden words
And peise their deeds with weight of heavy lead,
That fair performance cannot follow promise?
O, that a man might hold the heart’s close book,
And choke the lavish tongue when it doth utter
The breath of falsehood not character’d there!

Warwick

Far be it from the honour of my age
That I should owe bright gold and render lead!
Age is a cynic, not a flatterer:
I say again, that, if I knew your grief,
And that by me it may be lessened,
My proper harm should buy your highness’ good.

King Edward

These are the vulgar tenders of false men,
That never pay the duty of their words.
Thou wilt not stick to swear what thou hast said;
But, when thou know’st my grief’s condition,
This rash-disgorged vomit of thy word
Thou wilt eat up again, and leave me helpless.

Warwick

By Heaven, I will not, though your majesty
Did bid me run upon your sword and die.

King Edward

Say, that my grief is no way med’cinable,
But by the loss and bruising of thine honour?

Warwick

If nothing but that loss may vantage you,
I would account that loss my vantage too.

King Edward Think’st that thou canst unswear thy oath again?
Warwick I cannot; nor I would not, if I could.
King Edward But, if thou dost, what shall I say to thee?
Warwick

What may be said to any perjur’d villain
That breaks the sacred warrant of an oath.

King Edward What wilt thou say to one that breaks an oath?
Warwick

That he hath broke his faith with God and man
And from them both stands excommunicate.

King Edward

What office were it to suggest a man
To break a lawful and religious vow?

Warwick An office for the devil, not for man.
King Edward

That devil’s office must thou do for me;
Or break thy oath or cancel all the bonds
Of love and duty ’twixt thyself and me.
And therefore, Warwick, if thou art thyself,
The lord and master of thy word and oath,
Go to thy daughter, and in my behalf
Command her, woo her, win her any ways,
To be my mistress and my secret love.
I will not stand to hear thee make reply;
Thy oath break hers, or let thy sovereign die. Exit.

Warwick

O doting king! O detestable office!
Well may I tempt myself to wrong myself,
When he hath sworn me by the name of God
To break a vow made by the name of God.
What if I swear by this right hand of mine
To cut this right hand off? the better way
Were to profane the idol than confound it:
But neither will I do; I’ll keep mine oath
And to my daughter make a recantation
Of all the virtue I have preach’d to her.
I’ll say, she must forget her husband Salisbury,
If she remember to embrace the king;
I’ll say, an oath may easily be broken,
But not so easily pardon’d, being broken;
I’ll say, it is true charity to love,
But not true love to be so charitable;
I’ll say, his greatness may bear out the shame,
But not his kingdom can buy out the sin;
I’ll say, it is my duty to persuade,
But not her honesty to give consent.

Enter Countess.

See, where she comes: was never father, had
Against his child an embassage so bad.

Countess

My lord and father, I have sought for you:
My mother and the peers importune you
To keep in presence of his majesty
And do your best to make his highness merry.

Warwick

How shall I enter in this arrant errand?
I must not call her child; for where’s the father
That will, in such a suit, seduce his child?
Then, Wife of Salisbury⁠—shall I so begin?
No, he’s my friend; and where is found the friend,
That will do friendship such indammagement?⁠—
To the Countess. Neither my daughter, nor my dear friend’s wife,
I am not Warwick, as thou think’st I am,
But an attorney from the court of hell;
That thus have hous’d my spirit in his form,
To do a message to thee from the king.
The mighty King of England dotes on thee:
He that hath power to take away thy life
Hath power to take thine honour; then consent
To pawn thine honour, rather than thy life:
Honour is often lost and got again;
But life, once gone, hath no recovery.
The sun, that withers hay, doth nourish grass;
The king that would distain thee will advance thee.
The poets write that great Achilles’ spear
Could heal the wound it made: the moral is,
What mighty men misdo, they can amend.
The lion doth become his bloody jaws
And grace his foragement, by being mild
When vassel fear lies trembling at his feet.
The king will in his glory hide thy shame;
And those that gaze on him to find out thee
Will lose their eyesight, looking in the sun.
What can one drop of poison harm the sea,
Whose hugy vastures can digest the ill
And make it lose his operation?
The king’s great name will temper thy misdeeds,
And give the bitter potion of reproach
A sugar’d-sweet and most delicious taste:
Besides, it is no harm, to do the thing
Which without shame could not be left undone.
Thus have I, in his majesty’s behalf,
Apparell’d sin in virtuous sentences,
And dwell upon thy answer in his suit.

Countess

Unnatural besiege! Woe me unhappy,
To have escap’d the danger of my foes
And to be ten times worse envir’d by friends!
Hath he no means to stain my honest blood,
But to corrupt the author of my blood
To be his scandalous and vile solicitor?
No marvel, though the branches be then infected,
When poison hath encompassed the root:
No marvel, though the leprous infant die,
When the stern dam envenometh the dug.
Why then, give sin a passport to offend,
And youth the dangerous rein of liberty:
Blot out the strict forbidding of the law;
And cancel every canon, that prescribes
A shame for shame or penance for offence.
No, let me die, if his too boist’rous will
Will have it so, before I will consent
To be an actor in his graceless lust.

Warwick

Why, now thou speak’st as I would have thee speak:
And mark how I unsay my words again.
An honourable grave is more esteem’d,
Than the polluted closet of a king:
The greater man, the greater is the thing,
Be it good or bad, that he shall undertake:
An unreputed mote, flying in the sun,
Presents a greater substance than it is:
The freshest summer’s day doth soonest taint
The loathed carrion that it seems to kiss:
Deep are the blows made with a mighty axe:
That sin doth ten times aggravate itself,
That is committed in a holy place:
An evil deed, done by authority,
Is sin and subornation: deck an ape
In tissue, and the beauty of the robe
Adds but the greater scorn unto the beast.
A spacious field of reasons could I urge
Between his glory, daughter, and thy shame:
That poison shows worst in a golden cup;
Dark night seems darker by the lightning-flash;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds;
And every glory that inclines to sin,
The shame is treble by the opposite.
So leave I, with my blessing in thy bosom;
Which then convert to a most heavy curse,
When thou convert’st from honour’s golden name
To the black faction of bed-blotting shame! Exit.

Countess

I’ll follow thee; and when my mind turns so,
My body sink my soul in endless woe! Exit.

Scene II

The same. A room in the castle.

Enter Derby and Audley, meeting.
Derby

Thrice-noble Audley, well encounter’d here:
How is it with our sovereign and his peers?

Audley

’Tis full a fortnight since I saw his highness,
What time he sent me forth to muster men;
Which I accordingly have done, and bring them hither
In fair array before his majesty.
What news, my Lord of Derby, from the Emperor?

Derby

As good as we desire: the Emperor
Hath yielded to his highness friendly aid;
And makes our king lieutenant-general
In all his lands and large dominions:
Then via for the spacious bounds of France!

Audley What, doth his highness leap to hear these news?
Derby

I have not yet found time to open them;
The king is in his closet, malcontent,
For what, I know not, but he gave in charge,
Till after dinner, none should interrupt him:
The Countess Salisbury, and her father Warwick,
Artois, and all, look underneath the brows.

Audley Undoubtedly then some thing is amiss. Trumpet within.
Derby The trumpets sound; the king is now abroad.
Enter King Edward.
Audley Here comes his highness.
Derby Befall my sovereign all my sovereign’s wish!
King Edward Ah, that thou wert a witch, to make it so!
Derby The emperor greeteth you: Presenting letters.
King Edward Would it were the countess!
Derby And hath accorded to your highness’ suit.
King Edward Thou liest, she hath not; but I would, she had!
Audley All love and duty to my lord the king!
King Edward Well, all but one is none:⁠—what news with you?
Audley

I have, my liege, levied those horse and foot,
According to your charge, and brought them hither.

King Edward

Then let those foot trudge hence upon those horse,
According to our discharge, and be gone.⁠—
Derby,
I’ll look upon the countess’ mind anon.

Derby The countess’ mind, my liege?
King Edward I mean the emperor: leave me alone.
Audley What’s in his mind?
Derby Let’s leave him to his humour. Exeunt Derby and Audley.
King Edward

Thus from the heart’s abundance speaks the tongue;
Countess for emperor: and, indeed, why not?
She is as imperator over me;
And I to her
Am as a kneeling vassal that observes
The pleasure or displeasure of her eye.⁠—

Enter Lodwick.

What says the more than Cleopatra’s match
To Caesar now?

Lodwick

That yet, my liege, ere night
She will resolve your majesty. Drum within.

King Edward

What drum is this, that thunders forth this march,
To start the tender Cupid in my bosom?
Poor sheep-skin, how it brawls with him that beateth it!
Go, break the thund’ring parchment-bottom out,
And I will teach it to conduct sweet lines
Unto the bosom of a heavenly nymph:
For I will use it as my writing-paper;
And so reduce him, from a scolding drum,
To be the herald and dear counsel-bearer
Betwixt a goddess and a mighty king.
Go, bid the drummer learn to touch the lute,
Or hang him in the braces of his drum;
For now we think it an uncivil thing,
To trouble heaven with such harsh resounds:
Away.⁠—Exit Lodwick.
The quarrel, that I have, requires no arms
But these of mine; and these shall meet my foe
In a deep march of penetrable groans:
My eyes shall be my arrows; and my sighs
Shall serve me as the vantage of the wind,
To whirl away my sweet’st artillery:
Ah but, alas, she wins the sun of me,
For that is she herself; and thence it comes
That poets term the wanton warrior blind;
But love hath eyes as judgement to his steps,
Till too-much-loved glory dazzles them.⁠—

Re-enter Lodwick.
How now?
Lodwick

My liege, the drum that stroke the lusty march
Stands with Prince Edward, your thrice-valiant son.

Enter Prince Edward. Lodwick retires to the door.
King Edward

I see the boy. O, how his mother’s face,
Modell’d in his, corrects my stray’d desire
And rates my heart and chides my thievish eye;
Who being rich enough in seeing her,
Yet seeks elsewhere: and basest theft is that,
Which cannot cloak itself on poverty.⁠—
Now, boy, what news?

Prince Edward

I have assembled, my dear lord and father,
The choicest buds of all our English blood
For our affairs in France; and here we come,
To take direction from your majesty.

King Edward

Still do I see in him delineate
His mother’s visage; those his eyes are hers,
Who looking wistly on me make me blush;
For faults against themselves give evidence:
Lust is a fire; and men, like lanthorns, show
Light lust within themselves, even through themselves.
Away, loose silks of wavering vanity!
Shall the large limit of fair Brittany
By me be overthrown? and shall I not
Master this little mansion of myself?
Give me an armour of eternal steel;
I go to conquer kings; and shall I then
Subdue myself and be my enemy’s friend?
It must not be.⁠—Come, boy, forward, advance!
Let’s with our colours sweet the air of France.

Lodwick

My liege, the countess with a smiling cheer
Desires access unto your majesty. Advancing from the door, and whispering to him.

King Edward

Why, there it goes! that very smile of hers
Hath ransom’d captive France, and set the king,
The Dauphin, and the peers, at liberty.⁠—
Go, leave me, Ned, and revel with thy friends. Exit Prince.
Thy mother is but black; and thou, like her,
Dost put into my mind how foul she is.⁠—
Go, fetch the countess hither in thy hand
And let her chase away these winter clouds;
For she gives beauty both to heaven and earth. Exit Lodwick.
The sin is more to hack and hew poor men,
Than to embrace in an unlawful bed
The register of all rarieties
Since leathern Adam till this youngest hour.

Re-enter Lodwick, with the Countess.

Go, Lodwick, put thy hand into my purse,
Play, spend, give, riot, waste; do what thou wilt,
So thou wilt hence a while and leave me here. Exit Lodwick.
Now, my soul’s playfellow! art thou come,
To speak the more than heavenly word of yea
To my objection in thy beauteous love?

Countess My father on his blessing hath commanded⁠—
King Edward That thou shalt yield to me?
Countess Ay, dear my liege, your due.
King Edward

And that, my dearest love, can be no less
Than right for right and tender love for love.

Countess

Than wrong for wrong and endless hate for hate.
But⁠—sith I see your majesty so bent,
That my unwillingness, my husband’s love,
Your high estate, nor no respect respected
Can be my help, but that your mightiness
Will overbear and awe these dear regards⁠—
I bind my discontent to my content,
And what I would not, I’ll compel I will;
Provided that yourself remove those lets
That stand between your highness’ love and mine.

King Edward Name them, fair countess, and, by Heaven, I will.
Countess

It is their lives, that stand between our love,
That I would have chok’d up, my sovereign.

King Edward Whose lives, my lady?
Countess

My thrice-loving liege,
Your queen, and Salisbury my wedded husband;
Who living have that title in our love
That we can not bestow but by their death.

King Edward Thy opposition is beyond our Law.
Countess

So is your desire: if the law
Can hinder you to execute the one,
Let it forbid you to attempt the other:
I cannot think you love me as you say
Unless you do make good what you have sworn.

King Edward

No more; thy husband and the queen shall die.
Fairer thou art by far than Hero was;
Beardless Leander not so strong as I:
He swum an easy current for his love;
But I will through a Hellespont of blood
To arrive at Sestos where my Hero lies.

Countess

Nay, you’ll do more; you’ll make the river, too,
With their heart-bloods that keep our love asunder,
Of which my husband and your wife are twain.

King Edward

Thy beauty makes them guilty of their death
And gives in evidence that they shall die;
Upon which verdict, I, their judge, condemn them.

Countess

O perjur’d beauty! more corrupted judge!
When to the great star-chamber o’er our heads
The universal sessions calls to count
This packing evil, we both shall tremble for it.

King Edward What says my fair love? is she resolute?
Countess

Resolv’d to be dissolv’d; and, therefore, this⁠—
Keep but thy word, great king, and I am thine.
Stand where thou dost, I’ll part a little from thee,
And see how I will yield me to thy hands. Turning suddenly upon him, and showing two daggers.
Here by my side doth hang my wedding knifes:
Take thou the one and with it kill thy queen
And learn by me to find her where she lies;
And with this other I’ll dispatch my love,
Which now lies fast asleep within my heart:
When they are gone, then I’ll consent to love.
Stir not, lascivious king, to hinder me;
My resolution is more nimbler far
Than thy prevention can be in my rescue,
And, if thou stir, I strike: therefore stand still,
And hear the choice that I will put thee to:
Either swear to leave thy most unholy suit,
And never henceforth to solicit me;
Or else, by Heaven, kneeling this sharp-pointed knife
Shall stain thy earth with that which thou wouldst stain,
My poor chaste blood. Swear, Edward, swear,
Or I will strike and die before thee here.

King Edward

Even by that Power I swear, that gives me now
The power to be ashamed of myself,
I never mean to part my lips again
In any words that tends to such a suit.
Arise, true English Lady, whom our isle
May better boast of, than e’er Roman might
Of her, whose ransack’d treasury hath task’d
The vain endeavour of so many pens:
Arise; and be my fault thy honour’s fame,
Which after-ages shall enrich thee with.
I am awaked from this idle dream;⁠—
Warwick, my son, Derby, Artois, and Audley,
Brave warriors all, where are you all this while?

Enter Prince and Lords.

Warwick, I make thee Warden of the North:⁠—
Thou, Prince of Wales, and Audley, straight to sea;
Scour to Newhaven; some there stay for me:⁠—
Myself, Artois, and Derby, will through Flanders
To greet our friends there and to crave their aide:
This night will scarce suffice me, to discover
My folly’s siege against a faithful lover;
For, ere the sun shall gild the eastern sky,
We’ll wake him with our martial harmony. Exeunt.

Act III

Scene I

Flanders. The French camp.

Enter King John of France; his two Sons, Charles Duke of Normandy, and Philip; the Duke of Lorraine, and others.
King John

Here, till our navy of a thousand sail
Have made a breakfast to our foe by sea,
Let us encamp to wait their happy speed.⁠—
Lorraine, what readiness is Edward in?
How hast thou heard that he provided is
Of martial furniture for this exploit?

Lorraine

To lay aside unnecessary soothing
And not to spend the time in circumstance,
’Tis bruited for a certainty, my lord,
That he’s exceeding strongly fortified;
His subjects flock as willingly to war
As if unto a triumph they were led.

Charles

England was wont to harbour malcontents,
Bloodthirsty and seditious Catilines,
Spendthrifts, and such as gape for nothing else
But changing and alteration of the state;
And is it possible,
That they are now so loyal in themselves?

Lorraine

All but the Scot; who solemnly protests,
As heretofore I have inform’d his grace,
Never to sheathe his sword, or take a truce.

King John

Ah, that’s the anch’rage of some better hope!
But, on the other side, to think what friends
King Edward hath retain’d in Netherland,
Among those ever-bibbing Epicures,
Those frothy Dutchmen, puff’d with double beer,
That drink and swill in every place they come,
Doth not a little aggravate mine ire:
Besides, we hear, the Emperor conjoins,
And stalls him in his own authority:
But, all the mightier that their number is,
The greater glory reaps the victory.
Some friends have we beside domestic power;
The stern Polonian, and the warlike Dane,
The king of Bohemia and of Sicily,
Are all become confederates with us,
And, as I think, are marching hither apace. Drum within.
But, soft, I hear the music of their drums,
By which I guess that their approach is near.

Enter the King of Bohemia, and Forces; Aid of Danes, Poles, and Muscovites.
King of Bohemia

King John of France, as league and neighbourhood
Requires when friends are anyway distress’d,
I come to aide thee with my country’s force.

Pole

And from great Moscow, fearful to the Turk,
And lofty Poland, nurse of hardy men,
I bring these servitors to fight for thee
Who willingly will venture in thy cause.

King John

Welcome, Bohemian king; and welcome, all:
This your great kindness I will not forget.
Besides your plentiful rewards in crowns,
That from our treasury ye shall receive,
There comes a hare-brain’d nation, deck’d in pride,
The spoil of whom will be a treble game.⁠—
And now my hope is full, my joy complete:
At sea, we are as puissant as the force
Of Agamemnon in the haven of Troy;
By land, with Xerxes we compare of strength
Whose soldiers drank up rivers in their thirst:
Then, Bayard-like, blind over-weening Ned,
To reach at our imperial diadem
Is either to be swallow’d of the waves
Or hack’d a-pieces when thou com’st ashore.

Enter a Mariner.
Mariner

Near to the coast I have descried, my lord,
As I was busy in my watchful charge,
The proud Armado of King Edward’s ships:
Which at the first, far off when I did ken,
Seem’d as it were a grove of wither’d pines;
But, drawing near, their glorious bright aspect,
Their streaming ensigns wrought of colour’d silk,
Like to a meadow full of sundry flowers,
Adorns the naked bosom of the earth.
Majestical the order of their course,
Figuring the horned circle of the moon:
And on the top-gallant of the admiral,
And likewise all the handmaids of his train,
The arms of England and of France unite
Are quarter’d equally by herald’s art.
Thus, tightly carried with a merry gale,
They plough the ocean hitherward amain.

King John

Dare he already crop the flower-de-luce?
I hope, the honey being gather’d thence,
He, with the spider, afterward approach’d,
Shall suck forth deadly venom from the leaves.⁠—
But where’s our navy? how are they prepar’d
To wing themselves against this flight of ravens?

Mariner

They, having knowledge brought them by the scouts,
Did break from anchor straight; and, puff’d with rage
No otherwise then were their sails with wind,
Made forth, as when the empty eagle flies
To satisfy his hungry griping maw.

King John

There’s for thy news. Return unto thy bark;
And, if thou scape the bloody stroke of war
And do survive the conflict, come again
And let us hear the manner of the fight.⁠—Exit Mariner.
Mean space, my lords, ’tis best we be dispers’d
To several places, lest they chance to land:
First, you, my lord, with your Bohemian troops,
Shall pitch your battles on the lower hand;
My eldest son, the Duke of Normandy,
Together with the aid of Muscovites,
Shall climb the higher ground another way;
Here in the middle coast, betwixt you both,
Philip, my youngest boy, and I will lodge.
So, lords, be gone, and look unto your charge;
You stand for France, an empire fair and large.⁠—Exeunt Charles, Lorraine, King of Bohemia, and Forces.
Now tell me, Philip, what is thy conceit,
Touching the challenge that the English make?

Philip

I say, my lord, claim Edward what he can,
And bring he ne’er so plain a pedigree,
’Tis you are in possession of the crown,
And that’s the surest point of all the law:
But, were it not, yet, ere he should prevail,
I’ll make a conduit of my dearest blood
Or chase those straggling upstarts home again.

King John

Well said, young Philip! Call for bread and wine,
That we may cheer our stomachs with repast,
To look our foes more sternly in the face. A table and provisions brought in; King and his Son set down to it. Ordnance afar off.
Now is begun the heavy day at sea.
Fight, Frenchmen, fight; be like the field of bears,
When they defend their younglings in the caves!
Steer, angry Nemesis, the happy helm;
That with the sulphur battles of your rage
The English fleet may be dispers’d and sunk! Ordnance again.

Philip

O father, how this echoing cannon-shot,
Like sweetest harmony, digests my eats!

King John

Now, boy, thou hear’st what thund’ring terror ’tis,
To buckle for a kingdom’s sovereignty.
The earth, with giddy trembling when it shakes,
Or when the exhalations of the air
Breaks in extremity of lightning flash,
Affrights not more than kings when they dispose
To show the rancour of their high-swoln hearts. Retreat heard.
Retreat is sounded; one side hath the worse:
O, if it be the French!⁠—Sweet Fortune, turn;
And, in thy turning, change the forward winds,
That, with advantage of a favouring sky,
Our men may vanquish and the other fly!

Enter Mariner.

My heart misgives:⁠—say, mirror of pale death,
To whom belongs the honour of this day?
Relate, I pray thee, if thy breath will serve,
The sad discourse of this discomfiture.

Mariner

I will, my lord.
My gracious sovereign, France hath ta’en the foil,
And boasting Edward triumphs with success.
These iron-hearted navies,
When last I was reporter to your grace,
Both full of angry spleen, of hope and fear,
Hasting to meet each other in the face,
At last conjoin’d, and by their admiral
Our admiral encounter’d many shot.
By this, the other, that beheld these twain
Give earnest-penny of a further wrack,
Like fiery dragons took their haughty flight;
And, likewise meeting, from their smoky wombs
Sent many grim ambassadors of death.
Then gan the day to turn to gloomy night;
And darkness did as well enclose the quick
As those that were but newly reft of life.
No leisure serv’d for friends to bid farewell;
And, if it had, the hideous noise was such,
As each to other seemed deaf and dumb.
Purple the sea; whose channel fill’d as fast
With streaming gore that from the maimed fell
As did her gushing moisture break into
The crannied cleftures of the through-shot planks.
Here flew a head, dissever’d from the trunk;
There mangled arms and legs were toss’d aloft,
As when a whirlwind takes the summer dust
And scatters it in middle of the air.
Then might ye see the reeling vessels split
And tottering sink into the ruthless flood
Until their lofty tops were seen no more.
All shifts were tried both for defence and hurt.
And now the effect of valour and of fear,
Of resolution and of cowardice,
We lively pictur’d; how the one for fame,
The other by compulsion laid about.
Much did the Nonpareille, that brave ship;
So did the Black-Snake of Bullen, than which
A bonnier vessel never yet spread sail:
But all in vain; both sun, the wind and tide
Revolted all unto our foemen’s side,
That we perforce were fain to give them way,
And they are landed: thus my tale is done;
We have untimely lost, and they have won.

King John

Then rests there nothing, but with present speed
To join our several forces all in one,
And bid them battle ere they range too far.⁠—
Come, gentle Philip, let us hence depart;
This soldier’s words have pierc’d thy father’s heart. Exeunt.

Scene II

Picardy. Fields near Cressy.

Enter a Frenchman, meeting certain others, a Woman and two Children, laden with household-stuff, as removing.
First Frenchman

Well met, my masters: how now? what’s the news?
And wherefore are ye laden thus with stuff?
What, is it quarter-day, that you remove
And carry bag and baggage too?

Second Frenchman

Quarter-day? aye, and quartering day, I fear:
Have ye not heard the news that flies abroad?

First Frenchman What news?
Third Frenchman

How the French navy is destroy’d at sea
And that the English army is arriv’d.

First Frenchman What then?
Second Frenchman

What then, quoth you? why, is’t not time to fly,
When envy and destruction is so nigh?

First Frenchman

Content thee, man; they are far enough from hence;
And will be met, I warrant ye, to their cost,
Before they break so far into the realm.

Second Frenchman

Ay, so the grasshopper doth spend the time
In mirthful jollity, till winter come;
And then too late he would redeem his time
When frozen cold hath nipp’d his careless head.
He, that no sooner will provide a cloak
Than when he sees it doth begin to rain,
May, peradventure, for his negligence,
Be throughly wash’d when he suspects it not.
We that have charge and such a train as this
Must look in time to look for them and us,
Lest, when we would, we cannot be reliev’d.

First Frenchman

Belike, you then despair of all success
And think your country will be subjugate.

Third Frenchman We cannot tell; ’tis good to fear the worst.
First Frenchman

Yet rather fight, than like unnatural sons
Forsake your loving parents in distress.

Second Frenchman

Tush, they that have already taken arms
Are many fearful millions in respect
Of that small handful of our enemies.
But ’tis a rightful quarrel must prevail;
Edward is son unto our late king’s sister,
When John Valois is three degrees remov’d.

Woman

Besides, there goes a prophecy abroad,
Publish’d by one that was a friar once
Whose oracles have many times prov’d true;
And now he says, “The time will shortly come,
When as a lion, roused in the west,
Shall carry hence the flower-de-luce of France”:
These, I can tell ye, and such-like surmises
Strike many Frenchmen cold unto the heart.

Enter another Frenchman, hastily.
Fourth Frenchman

Fly, countrymen and citizens of France!
Sweet-flow’ring peace, the root of happy life,
Is quite abandon’d and expuls’d the land:
Instead of whom, ransack-constraining war
Sits like to ravens upon your houses’ tops;
Slaughter and mischief walk within your streets,
And, unrestrain’d, make havoc as they pass:
The form whereof even now myself beheld,
Upon this fair mountain, whence I came.
For so far off as I directed mine eyes,
I might perceive five cities all on fire,
Corn-fields and vineyards, burning like an oven;
And, as the reaking vapour in the wind
Turn’d but aside, I likewise might discern
The poor inhabitants, escap’d the flame,
Fall numberless upon the soldiers’ pikes.
Three ways these dreadful ministers of wrath
Do tread the measures of their tragic march.
Upon the right hand comes the conquering king,
Upon the left his hot unbridled son,
And in the midst our nation’s glittering host;
All which, though distant, yet conspire in one
To leave a desolation where they come.
Fly, therefore, citizens, if you be wise,
Seek out some habitation further off.
Here is you stay, your wives will be abus’d,
Your treasure shar’d before your weeping eyes.
Shelter yourselves, for now the storm doth rise.
Away, away! methinks, I hear their drums.
Ah, wretched France, I greatly fear thy fall;
Thy glory shaketh like a tottering wall. Exeunt.

Scene III

The Same.

Drums. Enter King Edward, marching; Derby, etc., and Forces, and Gobin de Grey.
King Edward

Where is the Frenchman, by whose cunning guide
We found the shallow of this river Somme,
And had direction how to pass the sea?

Gobin Here, my good lord.
King Edward How art thou called? tell me thy name.
Gobin Gobin de Grey, if please your excellence.
King Edward

Then, Gobin, for the service thou hast done,
We here enlarge and give thee liberty;
And, for a3 recompense, beside this good,
Thou shalt receive five hundred marks in gold.⁠—
I know not how, we should have met our son;
Whom now in heart I wish I might behold.

Enter Artois.
Artois

Good news, my lord; the prince is hard at hand,
And with him comes Lord Audley and the rest,
Whom since our landing we could never meet.

Enter Prince, Audley, and Forces.
King Edward

Welcome, fair prince! How hast thou sped, my son,
Since thy arrival on the coast of France?

Prince Edward

Successfully, I thank the gracious heavens:
Some of their strongest cities we have won,
As Harflew, Lo, Crotaye, and Carentine,
And others wasted; leaving at our heels
A wide apparent field and beaten path
For solitariness to progress in:
Yet, those that would submit, we kindly pardon’d;
But who in scorn refus’d our proffer’d peace,
Endured the penalty of sharp revenge.

King Edward

Ah, France, why shouldst thou be thus obstinate
Against the kind embracement of thy friends?
How gently had we thought to touch thy breast
And set our foot upon thy tender mould,
But that in froward and disdainful pride
Thou, like a skittish and untamed colt,
Dost start aside and strike us with thy heels?⁠—
But tell me, Ned, in all thy warlike course
Hast thou not seen the usurping King of France?

Prince Edward

Yes, my good lord, and not two hours ago,
With full a hundred thousand fighting men,
Upon the one side of the river’s bank,
I on the other; with his multitudes
I fear’d he would have cropp’d our smaller power:
But, happily, perceiving your approach
He hath withdrawn himself to Cressy plains;
Where, as it seemeth by his good array,
He means to bid us battle presently.

King Edward He shall be welcome, that’s the thing we crave.
Enter King John; Charles and Philip, his Sons; Bohemia, Lorraine, etc., and Forces.
King John

Edward, know, that John, the true King of France⁠—
Musing thou shouldst encroach upon his land,
And, in thy tyrannous proceeding, slay
His faithful subjects and subvert his towns⁠—
Spits in thy face; and in this manner following
Upbraids thee with thine arrogant intrusion.
First, I condemn thee for a fugitive,
A thievish pirate, and a needy mate;
One, that hath either no abiding place,
Or else, inhabiting some barren soil,
Where neither herb nor fruitful grain is had,
Dost altogether live by pilfering:
Next⁠—insomuch thou hast infring’d thy faith,
Broke league and solemn covenant made with me⁠—
I hold thee for a false pernicious wretch:
And, last of all⁠—although I scorn to cope
With one so much inferior to myself;
Yet, in respect thy thirst is all for gold,
Thy labour rather to be fear’d than lov’d⁠—
To satisfy thy lust in either part,
Here am I come, and with me have I brought
Exceeding store of treasure, pearl and coin.
Leave therefore now to persecute the weak;
And armed ent’ring conflict with the arm’d,
Let it be seen, ’mongst other petty thefts,
How thou canst win this pillage manfully.

King Edward

If gall or wormwood have a pleasant taste,
Then is thy salutation honey-sweet:
But as the one hath no such property,
So is the other most satirical.
Yet wot how I regard thy worthless taunts;⁠—
If thou have utter’d them to foil my fame
Or dim the reputation of my birth,
Know that thy wolvish barking cannot hurt:
If slily to insinuate with the world,
And with a strumpet’s artificial line
To paint thy vicious and deformed cause,
Be well assur’d the counterfeit will fade
And in the end thy foul defects be seen:
But if thou didst it to provoke me on⁠—
As who should say, I were but timorous,
Or coldly negligent did need a spur⁠—
Bethink thyself how slack I was at sea;
How, since my landing, I have won no towns,
Enter’d no further but upon the coast,
And there have ever since securely slept.
But if I have been otherwise employ’d,
Imagine, Valois, whether I intend
To skirmish, not for pillage, but for the crown
Which thou dost wear; and that I vow to have,
Or one of us shall fall into his grave.

Prince Edward

Look not for cross invectives at our hands
Or railing execrations of despite:
Let creeping serpents hid in hollow banks
Sting with their tongues; we have remorseless swords,
And they shall plead for us and our affairs.
Yet thus much, briefly, by my father’s leave:
As all the immodest poison of thy throat
Is scandalous and most notorious lies,
And our pretended quarrel is truly just,
So end the battle when we meet to day:
May either of us prosper and prevail
Or, luckless curst, receive eternal shame!

King Edward

That needs no further question, and, I know,
His conscience witnesseth, it is my right.⁠—
Therefore, Valois, say, wilt thou yet resign,
Before the sickle’s thrust into the corn
Or that inkindled fury turn to flame?

King John

Edward, I know what right thou hast in France;
And ere I basely will resign my crown,
This champion field shall be a pool of blood
And all our prospect as a slaughter-house.

Prince Edward

Ay, that approves thee, tyrant, what thou art:
No father, king or shepherd of thy realm;
But one that tears her entrails with thy hands
And, like a thirsty tyger, suck’st her blood.

Audley

You peers of France, why do you follow him
That is so prodigal to spend your lives?

Charles

Whom should they follow, aged impotent,
But he that is their true-born sovereign?

King Edward

Upbraid’st thou him, because within his face
Time hath engrav’d deep characters of age?
Know, these grave scholars of experience,
Like stiff-grown oaks, will stand immovable,
When whirlwind quickly turns up younger trees.

Derby

Was ever any of thy father’s house
King, but thyself, before this present time?
Edward’s great linage, by the mother’s side,
Five hundred years hath held the sceptre up:⁠—
Judge then, conspirators, by this descent,
Which is the true-born sovereign, this, or that.

Philip

Father, range your battles, prate no more;
These English fain would spend the time in words,
That, night approaching, they escape unfought.

King John

Lords and my loving subjects, now’s the time
That your intended force must bide the touch:
Therefore, my friends, consider this in brief⁠—
He that you fight for is your natural king;
He against whom you fight, a foreigner:
He that you fight for, rules in clemency
And reins you with a mild and gentle bit;
He against whom you fight, if he prevail,
Will straight enthrone himself in tyranny,
Make slaves of you, and with a heavy hand
Curtail and curb your sweetest liberty.
Then, to protect your country and your king,
Let but the haughty courage of your hearts
Answer the number of your able hands,
And we shall quickly chase these fugitives.
For what’s this Edward but a belly-god,
A tender and lascivious wantonness,
That th’ other day was almost dead for love?
And what, I pray you, is his goodly guard?
Such as, but scant them of their chines of beef
And take away their downy feather-beds,
And, presently, they are as resty-stiff
As ’twere a many over-ridden jades.
Then, Frenchmen, scorn that such should be your lords,
And rather bind ye them in captive bands.

Frenchmen Vive le Roy! God save King John of France!
King John

Now on this plain of Cressy spread yourselves⁠—
And, Edward, when thou dar’st, begin the fight. Exeunt King John, Charles, Philip, Lorraine, Bohemia, and Forces.

King Edward

We presently will meet thee, John of France:⁠—
And, English lords, let us resolve to-day
Either to clear us of that scandalous crime
Or be entombed in our innocence.⁠—
And, Ned, because this battle is the first
That ever yet thou fought’st in pitched field,
As ancient custom is of Martialists,
To dub thee with the type of chivalry,
In solemn manner we will give thee arms:⁠—
Come, therefore, heralds, orderly bring forth
A strong attirement for the prince my son.⁠—

Flourish. Enter four Heralds, bringing a coat-armour, a helmet, a lance, and a shield: first Herald delivers the armour to King Edward, who puts it on his Son.

Edward Plantagenet, in the name of God,
As with this armour I impale thy breast,
So be thy noble unrelenting heart
Wall’d in with flint of matchless fortitude
That never base affections enter there;
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com’st!⁠—
Now follow, lords, and do him honour too.

Derby

Receiving the helmet from the second Herald.

Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales,
As I do set this helmet on thy head,
Wherewith the chamber of thy brain is fenc’d,
So may thy temples, with Bellona’s hand,
Be still adorn’d with laurel victory;
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com’st!

Audley

Receiving the lance from the third Herald.

Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales,
Receive this lance into thy manly hand;
Use it in fashion of a brazen pen
To draw forth bloody stratagems in France
And print thy valiant deeds in honour’s book;
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com’st!

Artois

Receiving the shield from the fourth Herald.

Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales,
Hold, take this target, wear it on thy arm;
And may the view thereof, like Perseus’ shield,
Astonish and transform thy gazing foes
To senseless images of meagre death;
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com’st!

King Edward

Now wants there nought but knighthood; which deferr’d
We leave till thou hast won it in the field.

Prince Edward

My gracious father, and ye forward peers,
This honour, you have done me, animates
And cheers my green yet-scarce-appearing strength
With comfortable good-presaging signs,
No otherwise than did old Jacob’s words
When as he breath’d his blessings on his sons.
These hallow’d gifts of yours when I profane,
Or use them not to glory of my God,
To patronage the fatherless and poor,
Or for the benefit of England’s peace,
Be numb my joints! wax feeble both mine arms!
Wither my heart! that, like a sapless tree,
I may remain the map of infamy.

King Edward

Then thus our steeled battles shall be rang’d;⁠—
The leading of the vaward, Ned, is thine;
To dignify whose lusty spirit the more,
We temper it with Audley’s gravity;
That, courage and experience join’d in one,
Your manage may be second unto none:
For the main battles, I will guide myself;
And, Derby, in the rearward march behind.
That orderly dispos’d and set in ’ray,
Let us to horse; and God grant us the day! Exeunt.

Scene IV

The Same.

Alarums, as of a battle joined. Enter a many Frenchmen flying; Prince, and English, pursuing; and exeunt: then enter King John and Lorraine.
King John

O Lorraine, say, what mean our men to fly?
Our number is far greater than our foes.

Lorraine

The garrison of Genoa’s, my lord,
That came from Paris, weary with their march,
Grudging to be so4 suddenly employ’d,
No sooner in the fore-front took their place,
But, straight retiring, so dismay’d the rest
As likewise they betook themselves to flight;
In which, for haste to make a safe escape,
More in the clust’ring throng are press’d to death,
Than by the enemy, a thousand-fold.

King John

O hapless fortune! Let us yet assay
If we can counsel some of them to stay. Exeunt.

Scene V5

The Same.

Enter King Edward and Audley.
King Edward

Lord Audley, whiles our son is in the chase,
Withdraw your powers unto this little hill,
And here a season let us breathe ourselves.

Audley I will, my lord. Exit. Retreat.
King Edward

Just-dooming Heaven, whose secret providence
To our gross judgement is inscrutable,
How are we bound to praise thy wondrous works,
That hast this day giv’n way unto the right
And made the wicked stumble at themselves!

Enter Artois, hastily.
Artois Rescue, King Edward! rescue for thy son!
King Edward

Rescue, Artois? what, is he prisoner?
Or by violence fell beside his horse?

Artois

Neither, my lord; but narrowly beset
With turning Frenchmen whom he did pursue,
As ’tis impossible that he should scape
Except your highness presently descend.

King Edward

Tut, let him fight; we gave him arms to-day,
And he is labouring for a knighthood, man.

Enter Derby, hastily.
Derby

The prince, my lord, the prince! O, succour him;
He’s close encompass’d with a world of odds!

King Edward

Then will he win a world of honour too
If he by valour can redeem him thence:
If not, what remedy? we have more sons
Than one, to comfort our declining age.

Enter Audley, hastily.

Renowned Edward, give me leave, I pray,
To lead my soldiers where I may relieve
Your grace’s son, in danger to be slain.
The snares of French, like emmets on a bank,
Muster about him; whilest he, lion-like,
Entangled in the net of their assaults,
Franticly rends and bites the woven toil:
But all in vain, he cannot free himself.

King Edward

Audley, content; I will not have a man,
On pain of death, sent forth to succour him:
This is the day ordain’d by destiny
To season his courage with those grievous thoughts,
That, if he breathe out Nestor’s years on earth,
Will make him savour still of this exploit.

Derby Ah, but he shall not live to see those days.
King Edward Why, then his epitaph is lasting praise.
Audley

Yet, good my lord, ’tis too much wilfulness,
To let his blood be spilt that may be sav’d.

King Edward

Exclaim no more; for none of you can tell
Whether a borrow’d aid will serve or no.
Perhaps, he is already slain or ta’en:
And dare a falcon when she’s in her flight,
And ever after she’ll be haggard-like:
Let Edward be deliver’d by our hands,
And still in danger he’ll expect the like;
But if himself himself redeem from thence,
He will have vanquish’d, cheerful, death and fear,
And ever after dread their force no more
Than if they were but babes or captive slaves.

Audley O cruel Father!⁠—Farewell, Edward, then!
Derby Farewell, sweet prince, the hope of chivalry!
Artois O, would my life might ransom him from death!
King Edward

But, soft; me thinks I hear Retreat sounded.
The dismal charge of trumpets’ loud retreat:
All are not slain, I hope, that went with him;
Some will return with tidings, good or bad.

Enter Prince Edward in triumph, bearing in his hands his shivered lance; his sword, and battered armour, borne before him, and the body of the King of Bohemia, wrapped in the colours. Lords run and embrace him.
Audley O joyful sight! victorious Edward lives!
Derby Welcome, brave prince!
King Edward Welcome, Plantagenet! Embracing him.
Prince Edward

First having done my duty, as beseem’d, Kneels, and kisses his father’s hand.
Lords, I regreet you all with hearty thanks.
And now, behold⁠—after my winter’s toil,
My painful voyage on the boist’rous sea
Of war’s devouring gulfs and steely rocks⁠—
I bring my fraught unto the wished port,
My summer’s hope, my travel’s sweet reward:
And here with humble duty I present
This sacrifice, this firstfruit of my sword,
Cropp’d and cut down even at the gate of death,
The King of Boheme, father, whom I slew;
Whose thousands had intrench’d me round about,
And lay as thick upon my batter’d crest
As on an anvil, with their pond’rous glaives:
Yet marble courage still did underprop;
And when my weary arms with often blows⁠—
Like the continual-lab’ring woodman’s axe
That is enjoin’d to fell a load of oaks⁠—
Began to falter, straight I would remember
My gifts you gave me and my zealous vow,
And then new courage made me fresh again;
That, in despite, I carv’d my passage forth
And put the multitude to speedy flight.
Lo, thus hath Edward’s hand fill’d your request,
And done, I hope, the duty of a knight.

King Edward

Ay, well thou hast deserv’d a knighthood, Ned!
And, therefore, with thy sword, yet reeking warm Receiving it from the soldier who bore it and laying it on the kneeling Prince.
With blood of those that fought to be thy bane,
Arise, Prince Edward, trusty knight at arms:
This day thou hast confounded me with joy
And proved thyself fit heir unto a king.

Prince Edward

Here is a note, my gracious lord, of those
That in this conflict of our foes were slain:
Eleven princes of esteem; fourscore
Barons; a hundred and twenty knights;
And thirty thousand common soldiers;
And, of our men, a thousand.

King Edward

Our God be praised! Now, John of France, I hope,
Thou know’st King Edward for no wantonness,
No love-sick cockney; nor his soldiers, jades.⁠—
But which way is the fearful king escap’d?

Prince Edward Towards Poitiers, noble father, and his sons.
King Edward

Ned, thou and Audley shall pursue them still;
Myself and Derby will to Calice straight,
And there be begirt that Haven town with siege.
Now lies it on an upshot; therefore strike,
And wistly follow whiles the game’s on foot.
What picture’s this? Pointing to the colours.

Prince Edward

A pelican, my lord,
Wounding her bosom with her crooked beak
That so her nest of young ones may be fed
With drops of blood that issue from her heart;
The motto, “Sic et vos,” “and so should you.” Flourish. Exeunt in triumph.

Act IV6

Scene I

Bretagne. Camp of the English.

Forces under the Earl of Salisbury; Salisbury’s Tent. Enter Salisbury; to him, Lord Mountford, attended, a coronet in his hand.
Mountford

My Lord of Salisbury, since by your aid
Mine enemy Sir Charles of Blois is slain,
And I again am quietly possess’d
In Britain’s dukedom, know that I resolve,
For this kind furth’rance of your king and you,
To swear allegiance to his majesty:
In sign whereof receive this coronet,
Bear it unto him, and, withal, mine oath,
Never to be but Edward’s faithful friend.

Salisbury

I take it, Mountford: thus, I hope, ere long
The whole dominions of the realm of France
Will be surrender’d to his conquering hand. Exit Mountford and Train.
Now, if I knew but safely how to pass,
I would at Calice gladly meet his grace,
Whither I am by letters certified
That he intends to have his host remov’d.
It shall be so: this policy will serve:⁠—
Ho, who’s within? Bring Villiers to me.⁠—

Enter Villiers.

Villiers, thou know’st, thou art my prisoner,
And that I might for ransom, if I would,
Require of thee a hundred thousand francs,
Or else retain and keep thee captive still:
But so it is, that for a smaller charge
Thou may’st be quit, and if thou wilt thyself;
And this it is, procure me but a passport
Of Charles the Duke of Normandy, that I
Without restraint may have recourse to Calice
Through all the countries where he hath to do,
(Which thou may’st easily obtain, I think,
By reason I have often heard thee say,
He and thyself were students once together)
And then thou shalt be set at liberty.
How say’st thou? wilt thou undertake to do it?

Villiers I will, my lord; but I must speak with him.
Salisbury

Why, so thou shalt; take horse, and post from hence:
Only, before thou go’st, swear by thy faith
That, if thou canst not compass my desire,
Thou wilt return my prisoner back again;
And that shall be sufficient warrant for me.

Villiers

To that condition I agree, my lord,
And will unfeignedly perform the same.

Salisbury

Farewell, Villiers.⁠—Exit Villiers.
This once I mean to try a Frenchman’s faith. Exit.

Scene II

Picardy. The English camp before Calais.

Enter King Edward and Derby, with Soldiers.
King Edward

Since they refuse our proffer’d league, my lord,
And will not ope their gates and let us in,
We will intrench ourselves on every side,
That neither victuals nor supply of men
May come to succour this accursed town;
Famine shall combat where our swords are stopp’d.

Derby

The promis’d aid that made them stand aloof
Is now retir’d and gone an other way;
It will repent them of their stubborn will.

Enter some poor Frenchmen.
But what are these poor ragged slaves, my lord?
King Edward Ask what they are; it seems, they come from Calice.
Derby

You wretched patterns of despair and woe,
What are you? living men, or gliding ghosts,
Crept from your graves to walk upon the earth?

First Frenchman

No ghosts, my lord, but men that breathe a life
Far worse than is the quiet sleep of death:
We are distressed poor inhabitants
That long have been diseased, sick and lame;
And now, because we are not fit to serve,
The captain of the town hath thrust us forth
That so expense of victuals may be sav’d.

King Edward

A charitable deed, no doubt, and worthy praise.⁠—
But how do you imagine then to speed?
We are your enemies; in such a case
We can no less but put ye to the sword,
Since, when we proffer’d truce, it was refus’d.

First Frenchman

An if your grace no otherwise vouchsafe,
As welcome death is unto us as life.

King Edward

Poor silly men, much wrong’d and more distress’d!⁠—
Go, Derby, go, and see they be reliev’d;
Command that victuals be appointed them
And give to every one five crowns a-piece:⁠—Exeunt Derby and Frenchmen.
The lion scorns to touch the yielding prey,
And Edward’s sword must flesh itself in such
As wilful stubbornness hath made perverse.⁠—

Enter the Lord Percy, from England.
Lord Percy! welcome: what’s the news in England?
Percy

The queen, my lord, comes here to your grace;
And from her highness and the lord vicegerent
I bring this happy tidings of success:
David of Scotland, lately up in arms,
(Thinking, belike, he soonest should prevail,
Your highness being absent from the realm)
Is, by the fruitful service of your peers
And painful travel of the queen herself
That, big with child, was every day in arms,
Vanquish’d, subdu’d and taken prisoner.

King Edward

Thanks, Percy, for thy news, with all my heart!
What was he, took him prisoner in the field?

Percy

A squire, my lord; John Copland is his name:
Who since, entreated by her majesty,
Denies to make surrender of his prize
To any but unto your grace alone;
Whereat the queen is grievously displeas’d.

King Edward

Well, then we’ll have a pursuivant despatch’d
To summon Copland hither out of hand,
And with him he shall bring his prisoner king.

Percy

The queen’s, my lord, herself by this at sea,
And purposeth, as soon as wind will serve,
To land at Calice, and to visit you.

King Edward

She shall be welcome; and, to wait her coming
I’ll pitch my tent near to the sandy shore.

Enter a French Captain.
Captain

The burgesses of Calice, mighty king,
Have, by a council, willingly decreed
To yield the town and castle to your hands,
Upon condition it will please your grace
To grant them benefit of life and goods.

King Edward

They will so! then, belike, they may command,
Dispose, elect, and govern as they list.
No, sirrah, tell them, since they did refuse
Our princely clemency at first proclaim’d,
They shall not have it now, although they would;
I will accept of nought but fire and sword,
Except, within these two days, six of them,
That are the wealthiest merchants in the town,
Come naked, all but for their linen shirts,
With each a halter hang’d about his neck,
And prostrate yield themselves, upon their knees,
To be afflicted, hang’d, or what I please;
And so you may inform their masterships. Exeunt Edward and Percy.

Captain

Why, this it is to trust a broken staff.
Had we not been persuaded, John our king
Would with his army have reliev’d the town,
We had not stood upon defiance so.
But now ’tis past that no man can recall,
And better some do go to wrack, than all. Exit.

Scene III

Poitou. Fields near Poitiers. The French camp; tent of the Duke of Normandy.

Enter Charles and Villiers.
Charles

I wonder, Villiers, thou shouldst importune me
For one that is our deadly enemy.

Villiers

Not for his sake, my gracious lord, so much
Am I become an earnest advocate
As that thereby my ransom will be quit.

Charles

Thy ransom, man! why need’st thou talk of that?
Art thou not free? and are not all occasions,
That happen for advantage of our foes,
To be accepted of and stood upon?

Villiers

No, good, my lord, except the same be just;
For profit must with honour be comix’d
Or else our actions are but scandalous:
But, letting pass these intricate objections,
Will’t please your highness to subscribe, or no?

Charles

Villiers, I will not nor I cannot do it;
Salisbury shall not have his will so much,
To claim a passport how it please himself.

Villiers

Why, then I know the extremity, my lord:
I must return to prison whence I came.

Charles

Return! I hope, thou wilt not.
What bird that hath escap’d the fowler’s gin
Will not beware how she’s ensnar’d again?
Or what is he so senseless and secure,
That, having hardly pass’d a dangerous gulf,
Will put himself in peril there again?

Villiers

Ah, but it is mine oath, my gracious lord,
Which I in conscience may not violate,
Or else a kingdom should not draw me hence.

Charles

Thine oath! why, that doth bind thee to abide:
Hast thou not sworn obedience to thy prince?

Villiers

In all things that uprightly he commands.
But either to persuade or threaten me
Not to perform the covenant of my word
Is lawless and I need not to obey.

Charles

Why, is it lawful for a man to kill,
And not, to break a promise with his foe?

Villiers

To kill, my lord, when war is once proclaim’d,
So that our quarrel be for wrongs receiv’d,
No doubt, is lawfully permitted us:
But, in an oath, we must be well advis’d
How we do swear, and, when we once have sworn,
Not to infringe it, though we die therefore.
Therefore, my lord, as willing I return
As if I were to fly to paradise. Going.

Charles

Stay, my Villiers; thine honourable mind
Deserves to be eternally admir’d.
Thy suit shall be no longer thus deferr’d;
Give me the paper, I’ll subscribe to it: Signs, and gives it back.
And, wheretofore I lov’d thee as Villiers,
Hereafter I’ll embrace thee as myself;
Stay, and be still in favour with thy lord.

Villiers

I humbly thank you grace, I must dispatch
And send this passport first unto the earl,
And then I will attend your highness’ pleasure.

Charles

Do so, Villiers;⁠—and Charles, when he hath need,
Be such his soldiers, howsoe’er he speed! Exit Villiers.

Enter King John.
King John

Come, Charles, and arm thee; Edward is entrapp’d,
The Prince of Wales is fall’n into our hands,
And we have compass’d him, he cannot scape.

Charles But will your highness fight to-day?
King John

What else, my son? he’s scarce eight thousand strong,
And we are threescore thousand at the least.

Charles

I have a prophecy, my gracious lord,
Wherein is written what success is like
To happen us in this outrageous war;
It was deliver’d me at Cressy’s field
By one that is an aged Hermit there. Reads.

“When feather’d foul shall make thine army tremble,
And flint-stones rise, and break the battle ’ray,
Then think on him that doth not now dissemble,
For that shall be the hapless dreadful day:
Yet in the end thy foot thou shalt advance
As far in England as thy foe in France.”

King John

By this it seems we shall be fortunate:
For as it is impossible that stones
Should ever rise and break the battle ’ray,
Or airy foul make men in arms to quake,
So is it like, we shall not be subdu’d:
Or, say this might be true, yet in the end,
Since he doth promise we shall drive him hence
And forage their country as they have done ours,
By this revenge that loss will seem the less.
But all are frivolous fancies, toys and dreams:
Once we are sure we have ensnar’d the son,
Catch we the father after how we can. Exeunt.

Scene IV

The same. The English camp.

Enter Prince Edward, Audley, and others.
Prince Edward

Audley, the arms of death embrace us round,
And comfort have we none, save that to die
We pay sour earnest for a sweeter life.
At Cressy field out clouds of warlike smoke
Chok’d up those French mouths and dissever’d them:
But now their multitudes of millions hide,
Masking as ’twere, the beauteous-burning sun;
Leaving no hope to us but sullen dark
And eyeless terror of all-ending night.

Audley

This sudden, mighty and expedient head,
That they have made, fair prince, is wonderful.
Before us in the valley lies the king,
Vantag’d with all that heaven and earth can yield;
His party stronger battled than our whole:
His son, the braving Duke of Normandy,
Hath trimm’d the mountain on our right hand up
In shining plate, that now the aspiring hill
Shows like a silver quarry or an orb;
Aloft the which, the banners, bannarets,
And new-replenish’d pendants cuff the air,
And beat the winds, that for their gaudiness
Struggles to kiss them: on our left hand lies
Philip, the younger issue of the king,
Coting the other hill in such array
That all his guilded upright pikes do seem
Straight trees of gold, the pendant streamers7 leaves;
And their device of antique heraldry,
Quarter’d in colours seeming sundry fruits,
Makes it the orchard of the Hesperides:
Behind us too the hill doth bear his height,
For, like a half-moon, op’ning but one way,
It rounds us in; there at our backs are lodg’d
The fatal cross-bows, and the battle there
Is govern’d by the rough Chatillion.
Then thus it stands⁠—the valley for our flight
The king binds in; the hills on either hand
Are proudly royalized by his sons;
And on the hill behind stands certain death,
In pay and service with Chatillion.

Prince Edward

Death’s name is much more mighty than his deeds;⁠—
Thy parcelling this power hath made it more.
As many sands as these my hands can hold
Are but my handful of so many sands;
Then, all the world⁠—and call it but a power⁠—
Easily ta’en up, and quickly thrown away:
But if I stand to count them sand by sand,
The number would confound my memory
And make a thousand millions of a task
Which, briefly, is no more, indeed, than one.
These quarters, squadrons, and these regiments,
Before, behind us, and on either hand,
Are but a power: when we name a man,
His hand, his foot, his head, hath several strengths;
And being all but one self instant strength,
Why, all this many, Audley, is but one,
And we can call it all but one man’s strength.
He, that hath far to go, tells it by miles;
If he should tell the steps, it kills his heart:
The drops are infinite that make a flood,
And yet, thou know’st, we call it but a rain.
There is but one France, one King of France,
That France hath no more kings; and that same king
Hath but the puissant legion of one king;
And we have one: then apprehend no odds,
For one to one is fair equality.⁠—

Enter a Herald.
What tidings, messenger? be plain, and brief.
Herald

The King of France, my sovereign lord and master,
Greets by me his foe the Prince of Wales.
If thou call forth a hundred men of name,
Of lords, knights, squires, and English gentlemen,
And with thyself and those kneel at his feet,
He straight will fold his bloody colours up
And ransom shall redeem lives forfeited:
If not, this day shall drink more English blood
Than e’er was buried in our British earth.
What is the answer to his proffer’d mercy?

Prince Edward

This heaven that covers France contains the mercy
That draws from me submissive orisons;
That such base breath should vanish from my lips,
To urge the plea of mercy to a man,
The Lord forbid! Return, and tell the king,
My tongue is made of steel and it shall beg
My mercy on his coward burgonet;
Tell him, my colours are as red as his,
My men as bold, our English arms as strong,
Return him my defiance in his face.

Herald I go. Exit.
Enter another Herald.
Prince Edward What news with thee?
Herald

The Duke of Normandy, my lord and master,
Pitying thy youth is so engirt with peril,
By me hath sent a nimble-jointed jennet,
As swift as ever yet thou didst bestride,
And therewithal he counsels thee to fly;
Else, death himself hath sworn that thou shalt die.

Prince Edward

Back with the beast unto the beast that sent him;
Tell him I cannot sit a coward’s horse.
Bid him to-day bestride the jade himself;
For I will stain my horse quite o’er with blood
And double-gild my spurs, but I will catch him.
So tell the carping boy, and get thee gone. Exit Herald.

Enter another Herald.
Herald

Edward of Wales, Philip, the second son
To the most mighty christian king of France,
Seeing thy body’s living date expi’d,
All full of charity and christian love,
Commends this book, full fraught with holy8 prayers,
To thy fair hand, and, for thy hour of life,
Entreats thee that thou meditate therein
And arm thy soul for her long journey towards.
Thus have I done his bidding, and return.

Prince Edward

Herald of Philip, greet thy lord from me;
All good, that he can send, I can receive:
But think’st thou not, the unadvised boy
Hath wrong’d himself in thus far tend’ring me?
Haply, he cannot pray without the book;
I think him no divine extemporal:
Then render back this commonplace of prayer,
To do himself good in adversity.
Besides, he knows not my sin’s quality
And therefore knows no prayers for my avail;
Ere night his prayer may be to pray to God,
To put it in my heart to hear his prayer.
So tell the courtly wanton, and be gone.

Herald I go. Exit.
Prince Edward

How confident their strength and number makes them!⁠—
Now, Audley, sound those silver wings of thine,
And let those milk-white messengers of time
Show thy time’s learning in this dangerous time;
Thyself art bruis’d and bit with many broils,
And stratagems forepast with iron pens
Are texted in thine honourable face;
Thou art a married man in this distress,
But danger woos me as a blushing maid:
Teach me an answer to this perilous time.

Audley

To die is all as common as to live;
The one in choice, the other holds in chase:
For from the instant we begin to live
We do pursue and hunt the time to die:
First bud we, then we blow, and after seed;
Then, presently, we fall; and, as a shade
Follows the body, so we follow death.
If then we hunt for death, why do we fear it?
If we fear it, why do we follow it?
If we do fear, how can we shun it?
If we do fear, with fear we do but aid
The thing we fear to seize on us the sooner:
If we fear not, then no resolved proffer
Can overthrow the limit of our fate:
For, whether ripe or rotten, drop we shall,
As we do draw the lottery of our doom.

Prince Edward

Ah, good old man, a thousand thousand armours
These words of thine have buckled on my back.
Ah, what an idiot hast thou made of life,
To seek the thing it fears! and how disgrac’d
The imperial victory of murd’ring death!
Since all the lives, his conquering arrows strike,
Seek him, and he not them, to shame his glory.
I will not give a penny for a life,
Nor half a halfpenny to shun grim death,
Since for to live is but to seek to die,
And dying but beginning of new life.
Let come the hour when he that rules it will!
To live, or die, I hold indifferent. Exeunt.

Scene V

The same. The French camp.

Enter King John and Charles.
King John

A sudden darkness hath defac’d the sky,
The winds are crept into their caves for fear,
The leaves move not, the world is hush’d and still,
The birds cease singing, and the wand’ring brooks
Murmur no wonted greeting to their shores;
Silence attends some wonder and expecteth
That heaven should pronounce some prophecy:
Where or from whom proceeds this silence, Charles?

Charles

Our men with open mouths and staring eyes
Look on each other, as they did attend
Each other’s words, and yet no creature speaks;
A tongue-tied fear hath made a midnight hour
And speeches sleep through all the waking regions.

King John

But now the pompous sun, in all his pride,
Look’d through his golden coach upon the world,
And on a sudden, hath he hid himself;
That now the under earth is as a grave,
Dark, deadly, silent, and uncomfortable. A clamour of ravens heard.
Hark! what a deadly outery do I hear!

Charles Here comes my brother Philip.
King John All dismayed:⁠—
Enter Philip.
What fearful words are those thy looks presage?
Philip A flight, a flight!
King John Coward, what flight? thou liest, there needs no flight.
Philip A flight!
King John

Awake thy craven powers, and tell on
The substance of that very fear indeed,
Which is so ghastly printed in thy face:
What is the matter?

Philip

A flight of ugly ravens
Do croak and hover o’er our soldiers’ heads,
And keep in triangles and corner’d squares
Right as our forces are embattled;
With their approach there came this sudden fog
Which now hath hid the airy floor of heaven
And made at noon a night unnatural
Upon the quaking and dismayed world:
In brief, our soldiers have let fall their arms
And stand like metamorphos’d images,
Bloodless and pale, one gazing on another.

King John

Ay, now I call to mind the prophesy;
But I must give no entrance to a fear.⁠—
Return, and hearten up these yielding souls;
Tell them, the ravens, seeing them in arms⁠—
So many fair against a famished few⁠—
Come but to dine upon their handiwork
And prey upon the carrion that they kill:
For when we see a horse laid down to die,
Although he be9 not dead, the ravenous birds
Sit watching the departure of his life;
Even so these ravens, for the carcases
Of those poor English that are mark’d to die,
Hover about, and, if they cry to us,
’Tis but for meat that we must kill for them.
Away, and comfort up my soldiers,
And sound the trumpets; and at once dispatch
This little business of a silly fraud. Exit Philip.

Noise within. Enter a French Captain, with Salisbury, prisoner.
Captain

Behold, my liege, this knight and forty mo⁠—
Of whom the better part are slain and fled⁠—
With all endeavour sought to break our ranks,
And make their way to the encompass’d prince;
Dispose of him as please your majesty.

King John

Go, and the next bough, soldier, that thou seest,
Disgrace it with his body presently:
For I do hold a tree in France too good
To be the gallows of an English thief.

Salisbury

My Lord of Normandy, I have your pass
And warrant for my safety through this land.

Charles Villiers procur’d it for thee, did he not?
Salisbury He did.
Charles And it is current, thou shalt freely pass.
King John

Ay, freely to the gallows to be hang’d,
Without denial or impediment:⁠—
Away with him.

Charles

I hope, your highness will not so disgrace me
And dash the virtue of my seal-at-arms:
He hath my never-broken name to show,
Character’d with this princely hand of mine;
And rather let me leave to be a prince
Than break the stable verdict of a prince:
I do beseech you, let him pass in quiet.

King John

Thou and thy word lie both in my command;
What canst thou promise, that I cannot break?
Which of these twain is greater infamy,
To disobey thy father, or thyself?
Thy word, nor no man’s, may exceed his power;
Nor that same man doth never break his word
That keeps it to the utmost of his power:
The breach of faith dwells in the soul’s consent:
Which if thyself without consent do break,
Thou art not charged with the breach of faith.⁠—
Go, hang him; for thy license lies in me:
And my constraint stands the excuse for thee.

Charles

What, am I not a soldier in my word?
Then, arms adieu, and let them fight that list:
Shall I not give my girdle from my waste
But with a guardian I shall be controll’d,
To say, I may not give my things away?
Upon my soul, had Edward Prince of Wales
Engag’d his word, writ down his noble hand,
For all your knights to pass his father’s land,
The royal king, to grace his warlike son,
Would not alone safe-conduct give to them,
But with all bounty feasted them and theirs.

King John

Dwell’st thou on precedents? Then be it so.⁠—
Say, Englishman, of what degree thou art.

Salisbury

An Earl in England though a prisoner here;
And those that know me call me Salisbury.

King John Then, Salisbury, say whether thou art bound.
Salisbury To Calice, where my liege, king Edward, is.
King John

To Calice, Salisbury? Then to Calice pack;
And bid the king prepare a noble grave
To put his princely son, black Edward, in.
And as thou travell’st westward from this place,
Some two leagues hence there is a lofty hill,
Whose top seems topless, for the embracing sky
Doth hide his high head in her azure bosom;
Upon whose tall top when thy foot attains,
Look back upon the humble vale beneath,
(Humble of late, but now made proud with arms)
And thence behold the wretched Prince of Wales,
Hoop’d with a bond of iron round about.
After which sight to Calice spur amain,
And say, the prince was smother’d and not slain:
And tell the king, this is not all his ill,
For I will greet him ere he thinks I will.
Away, begone; the smoke but of our shot
Will choke our foes, though bullets hit them not. Exeunt.

Scene VI

The same. A part of the field of battle.

Alarums, as of a battle joined, skirmishings. Enter Prince Edward and Artois.
Artois How fares your grace? are you not shot, my lord?
Prince Edward

No, dear Artois; but chok’d with dust and smoke
And stepp’d aside for breath and fresher air.

Artois

Breath, then, and to’t again: the amazed French
Are quite distract with gazing on the crows;
And, were our quivers full of shafts again,
Your grace should see a glorious day of this:⁠—
O, for more arrows! Lord! that’s our want.

Prince Edward

Courage, Artois! a fig for feathered shafts
When feathered fowls do bandy on our side!
What need we fight and sweat, and keep a coil
When railing crows out-scold our adversaries?
Up, up, Artois! the ground it self is arm’d
With10 fire containing flint; command our bows
To hurl away their pretty-color’d yew,
And to’t with stones: away, Artois, away;
My soul doth prophesy we win the day. Exeunt.

Alarums, and Parties skirmishing. Enter King John.
King John

Our multitudes are in themselves confounded,
Dismayed, and distraught; swift-starting fear
Hath buzz’d a cold dismay through all our army,
And every petty disadvantage prompts
The fear-possessed abject soul to fly:
Myself, whose spirit is steel to their dull lead
(What with recalling of the prophecy
And that our native stones from English arms
Rebel against us) find myself attainted
With strong surprise of weak and yielding fear.

Enter Charles.
Charles

Fly, father, fly! the French do kill the French;
Some that would stand let drive at some that fly:
Our drums strike nothing but discouragement,
Our trumpets sound dishonour and retire;
The spirit of fear, that feareth nought but death,
Cowardly works confusion on itself.

Enter Philip.
Philip

Pluck out your eyes and see not this day’s shame!
An arm hath beat an army; one poor David
Hath with a stone foil’d twenty stout Goliahs:
Some twenty naked starvelings with small flints
Hath driven back a puissant host of men,
Array’d and fenc’d in all accomplements.

King John

Mordieu, they quoit at us and kill us up;
No less than forty thousand wicked elders
Have forty lean slaves this day ston’d to death.

Charles

O, that I were some-other-countryman!
This day hath set derision on the French,
And all the world will blurt and scorn at us.

King John What, is there no hope left?
Philip No hope, but death, to bury up our shame.
King John

Make up once more with me; the twentieth part
Of those that live are men enough to quail
The feeble handful on the adverse part.

Charles

Then charge again: if Heaven be not oppos’d,
We cannot lose the day.

King John On, on;11 away. Exeunt.
Alarums, etc. Enter Audley, wounded, and two Esquires, his rescuers.
First Esquire How fares my lord?
Audley

Even as a man may do,
That dines at such a bloody feast as this.

Second Esquire I hope, my lord, that is no mortal scar.
Audley

No matter, if it be; the count is cast,
And, in the worst, ends but a mortal man.
Good friends, convey me to the princely Edward,
That, in the crimson bravery of my blood,
I may become him with saluting him;
I’ll smile and tell him that this open scar
Doth end the harvest of his Audley’s war. Exeunt.

Scene VII

The same. The English camp.

Flourish. Enter Prince Edward, in triumph, leading prisoners, King John and his son Charles; and Officers, Soldiers, etc., with ensigns spread.
Prince Edward

Now, John in France, and lately John of France,
Thy bloody ensigns are my captive colours;
And you, high-vaunting Charles of Normandy,
That once to-day sent me a horse to fly,
Are now the subjects of my clemency.
Fie, lords! is’t not a shame that English boys,
Whose early days are yet not worth a beard,
Should in the bosom of your kingdom thus,
One against twenty, beat you up together?

King John Thy fortune, not thy force, hath conquer’d us.
Prince Edward An argument that Heaven aides the right.⁠—
Enter Artois, with Philip.

See, see, Artois doth bring with him along
The late good-counsel-giver to my soul!⁠—
Welcome, Artois, and welcome, Philip, too:
Who now, of you or I, have need to pray!
Now is the proverb verified in you,
Too bright a morning breeds a louring day⁠—

Enter Audley, led by the two Esquires.

But say, what grim discouragement comes here!
Alas, what thousand armed men of France
Have writ that note of death in Audley’s face?⁠—
Speak, thou that woo’st death with thy careless smile
And look’st so merrily upon thy grave
As if thou were enamour’d on thine end,
What hungry sword hath so bereav’d thy face
And lopp’d a true friend from my loving soul?

Audley

O prince, thy sweet bemoaning speech to me
Is as a mournful knell to one dead-sick.

Prince Edward

Dear Audley, if my tongue ring out thy end,
My arms shall be thy grave: what may I do,
To win thy life, or to revenge thy death?
If thou wilt drink the blood of captive kings
Or that it were restorative, command
A health of kings’ blood, and I’ll drink to thee:
If honour may dispense for thee with death,
The never-dying honour of this day
Share wholly, Audley, to thyself, and live.

Audley

Victorious prince⁠—that thou art so, behold
A Caesar’s fame in kings’ captivity⁠—
If I could hold dim death but at a bay,
Till I did see my liege thy royal father,
My soul should yield this castle of my flesh,
This mangled tribute, with all willingness
To darkness, consummation, dust and worms.

Prince Edward

Cheerily, bold man! thy soul is all too proud
To yield her city for one little breach;
Should be divorced from her earthly spouse
By the soft temper of a Frenchman’s sword?
Lo, to repair thy life, I give to thee
Three thousand marks a year in English land.

Audley

I take thy gift, to pay the debts I owe.
These two poor squires redeem’d me from the French,
With lusty and dear hazard of their lives;
What thou hast given me, I give to them;
And, as thou lov’st me, prince, lay thy consent
To this bequeath in my last testament.

Prince Edward

Renowned Audley, live, and have from me
This gift twice doubled, to these squires and thee:
But live or die, what thou hast given away,
To these and theirs shall lasting freedom stay.⁠—
Come, gentlemen, I will see my friend bestow’d
Within an easy litter; then we’ll march
Proudly toward Calice with triumphant pace
Unto my royal father, and there bring
The tribute of my wars, fair France’s king. Exit.

Act V

Scene I

Picardy. The English camp before Calais.

Enter King Edward, with Philippa his Queen, and Derby; Officers, Soldiers, etc.
King Edward

No more, Queen Philip, pacify yourself;
Copland, except he can excuse his fault,
Shall find displeasure written in our looks.⁠—
And now unto this proud resisting town:
Soldiers, assault; I will no longer stay,
To be deluded by their false delays;
Put all to sword, and make the spoil your own.

Trumpets sound to arms. Enter, from the town, six Citizens, in their shirts, and barefoot, with halters about their necks.
Citizens Mercy, King Edward! mercy, gracious lord!
King Edward

Contemptuous villains! call ye now for truce?
Mine ears are stopp’d against your bootless cries:⁠—
Sound, drums; alarum draw, threat’ning swords!

First Citizen

Ah, noble prince, take pity on this town,
And hear us, mighty king!
We claim the promise that your highness made;
The two days’ respite is not yet expir’d,
And we are come with willingness to bear
What torturing death or punishment you please,
So that the trembling multitude be sav’d.

King Edward

My promise? Well, I do confess as much:
But I do require the chiefest citizens
And men of most account that should submit;
You, peradventure, are but servile grooms,
Or some felonious robbers on the sea,
Whom, apprehended, law would execute,
Albeit severity lay dead in us:
No, no, ye cannot overreach us thus.

Second Citizen

The sun, dread lord, that in the western fall
Beholds us now low brought through misery,
Did in the orient purple of the morn
Salute our coming forth, when we were known;
Or may our portion be with damned fiends.

King Edward

If it be so, then let our covenant stand,
We take possession of the town in peace:
But, for yourselves, look you for no remorse;
But, as imperial justice hath decreed,
Your bodies shall be dragg’d about these walls
And after feel the stroke of quartering steel:
This is your doom;⁠—go, soldiers, see it done.

Queen

Ah, be more mild unto these yielding men!
It is a glorious thing, to stablish peace;
And kings approach the nearest unto God,
By giving life and safety unto men.
As thou intendest to be King of France,
So let her people live to call thee king;
For what the sword cuts down or fire hath spoil’d
Is held in reputation none of ours.

King Edward

Although experience teach us this is true,
That peaceful quietness brings most delight
When most of all abuses are controll’d,
Yet, insomuch it shall be known that we
As well can master our affections
As conquer other by the dint of sword,
Philip, prevail; we yield to thy request;
These men shall live to boast of clemency⁠—
And, tyranny, strike terror to thyself.

Citizens Long live your highness! happy be your reign!
King Edward

Go, get you hence, return unto the town,
And if this kindness hath deserved your love,
Learn then to reverence Edward as your king.⁠—Exeunt Citizens.
Now, might we hear of our affairs abroad,
We would, till gloomy winter were o’er-spent,
Dispose our men in garrison a while.
But who comes here?

Enter Copland and King David.
Derby Copland, my lord, and David King of Scots.
King Edward

Is this the proud presumptuous squire o’ the north
That would not yield his prisoner to my queen?

Copland

I am, my liege, a northern squire, indeed,
But neither proud nor insolent, I trust.

King Edward

What moved thee then to be so obstinate
To contradict our royal queen’s desire?

Copland

No wilful disobedience, mighty lord,
But my desert and public law of arms:
I took the king myself in single fight;
And, like a soldier, would be loath to lose
The least pre-eminence that I had won:
And Copland straight upon your highness’ charge
Is come to France, and with a lowly mind
Doth vail the bonnet of his victory.
Receive, dread lord, the custom of my fraught,
The wealthy tribute of my labouring hands;
Which should long since have been surrender’d up,
Had but your gracious self been there in place.

Queen

But, Copland, thou didst scorn the king’s command,
Neglecting our commission in his name.

Copland

His name I reverence, but his person more;
His name shall keep me in allegiance still,
But to his person I will bend my knee.

King Edward

I pray thee, Philip, let displeasure pass;
This man doth please me and I like his words:
For what is he that will attempt great deeds
And lose the glory that ensues the same?
All rivers have recourse unto the sea;
And Copland’s faith, relation to his king.⁠—
Kneel therefore down; now rise, king Edward’s knight:
And, to maintain thy state, I freely give
Five hundred marks a year to thee and thine.⁠—

Enter Salisbury.
Welcome, Lord Salisbury: what news from Britain?
Salisbury

This, mighty king: the country we have won;
And John de Mountford, regent of that place,
Presents your highness with this coronet,
Protesting true allegiance to your grace.

King Edward

We thank thee for thy service, valiant earl;
Challenge our favour, for we owe it thee.

Salisbury

But now, my lord, as this is joyful news,
So must my voice be tragical again
And I must sing of doleful accidents.

King Edward

What, have our men the overthrow at Poitiers?
Or is our son beset with too much odds?

Salisbury

He was, my lord: and as my worthless self,
With forty other serviceable knights,
Under safe-conduct of the Dauphin’s seal
Did travel that way, finding him distress’d,
A troop of lances met us on the way,
Surpris’d, and brought us prisoners to the king;
Who, proud of this and eager of revenge,
Commanded straight to cut off all our heads:
And surely we had died, but that the duke,
More full of honour than his angry sire,
Procur’d our quick deliverance from thence:
But, ere we went, “Salute your king,” quoth he,
“Bid him provide a funeral for his son,
To-day our sword shall cut his thread of life;
And, sooner than he thinks, we’ll be with him,
To quittance those displeasures he hath done”:
This said, we passed, not daring to reply;
Our hearts were dead, our looks diffus’d and wan.
Wand’ring, at last we climb’d unto a hill;
From whence, although our grief were much before,
Yet now to see the occasion with our eyes
Did thrice so much increase our heaviness:
For there, my lord, O, there we did descry
Down in a valley how both armies lay.
The French had cast their trenches like a ring;
And every barricado’s open front
Was thick emboss’d with brazen ordinance.
Here stood a battaile of ten thousand horse;
There twice as many pikes, in quadrant-wise:
Here cross-bows and deadly-wounding darts:
And in the midst, like to a slender point
Within the compass of the horizon⁠—
As .⁠—twere a rising bubble in the sea,
A hazel-wand amidst a wood of pines,
Or as a bear fast chain’d unto a stake⁠—
Stood famous Edward, still expecting when
Those dogs of France would fasten on his flesh.
Anon, the death-procuring knell begins:
Off go the cannons, that, with trembling noise,
Did shake the very mountain where they stood;
Then sound the trumpets’ clangour in the air,
The battles join: and, when we could no more
Discern the difference ’twixt the friend and foe,
(So intricate the dark confusion was)
Away we turn’d our wat’ry eyes, with sighs
As black as powder fuming into smoke.
And thus, I fear, unhappy have I told
The most untimely tale of Edward’s fall.

Queen

Ah me! is this my welcome into France?
Is this the comfort that I look’d to have
When I should meet with my beloved son?
Sweet Ned, I would thy mother in the sea
Had been prevented of this mortal grief!

King Edward

Content thee, Philip; ’tis not tears will serve
To call him back if he be taken hence:
Comfort thyself, as I do, gentle queen,
With hope of sharp, unheard-of, dire revenge.⁠—
He bids me to provide his funeral;
And so I will: but all the peers in France
Shall mourners be and weep out bloody tears
Until their empty veins be dry and sere:
The pillars of his hearse shall be his bones;
The mould that covers him, their cities’ ashes;
His knell, the groaning cries of dying men;
And, in the stead of tapers on his tomb,
An hundred fifty towers shall burning blaze,
While we bewail our valiant son’s decease.

Flourish of Trumpets within. Enter a Herald.
Herald

Rejoice, my lord; ascend the imperial throne!
The mighty and redoubted Prince of Wales,
Great servitor to bloody Mars in arms,
The Frenchman’s terror and his country’s fame,
Triumphant rideth like a Roman peer:
And, lowly at his stirrup, comes afoot
King John of France together with his son
In captive bonds; whose diadem he brings
To crown thee with and to proclaim thee king.

King Edward

Away with mourning, Philip, wipe thine eyes;⁠—
Sound, trumpets, welcome in Plantagenet!

A loud flourish. Enter Prince Edward, Audley, Artois, with King John and Philip.

As things long lost, when they are found again,
So doth my son rejoice his father’s heart,
For whom, even now, my soul was much perplex’d! Embracing the Prince.

Queen

Be this a token to express my joy, Kisses him.
For inward passion will not let me speak.

Prince Edward

My gracious father, here receive the gift, Presenting him with King John’s crown.
This wreath of conquest and reward of war,
Got with as mickle peril of our lives
As e’er was thing of price before this day;
Install your highness in your proper right:
And, herewithal, I render to your hands
These prisoners, chief occasion of our strife.

King Edward

So, John of France, I see you keep your word.
You promis’d to be sooner with ourself
Than we did think for, and ’tis so indeed:
But, had you done at first as now you do,
How many civil towns had stood untouch’d
That now are turn’d to ragged heaps of stones?
How many people’s lives might’st thou have sav’d
That are untimely sunk into their graves?

King John

Edward, recount not things irrevocable;
Tell me what ransom thou requir’st to have.

King Edward

Thy ransom, John, hereafter shall be known.
But first to England thou must cross the seas
To see what entertainment it affords;
Howe’er it falls, it cannot be so bad
As ours hath been since we arriv’d in France.

King John

Accursed man! of this I was foretold,
But did misconster what the prophet told.

Prince Edward

Now, father, this petition Edward makes⁠—
To thee, kneels whose grace hath been his strongest shield,
That, as thy pleasure chose me for the man
To be the instrument to show thy power,
So thou wilt grant, that many princes more,
Bred and brought up within that little isle,
May still be famous for like victories!⁠—
And, for my part, the bloody scars I bear,
And weary nights that I have watch’d in field,
The dangerous conflicts I have often had,
The fearful menaces were proffer’d me,
The heat and cold and what else might displease,
I wish were now redoubled twenty-fold;
So that hereafter ages, when they read
The painful traffic of my tender youth,
Might thereby be inflamed with such resolve
As not the territories of France alone,
But likewise Spain, Turkey, and what countries else
That justly would provoke fair England’s ire,
Might, at their presence, tremble and retire!

King Edward

Here, English lords, we do proclaim a rest,
An interceasing of our painful arms:
Sheath up your swords, refresh your weary limbs,
Peruse your spoils; and, after we have breath’d
A day or two within this haven-town,
God willing, then for England we’ll be shipp’d;
Where, in a happy hour, I trust, we shall
Arrive, three kings, two princes, and a queen. Flourish. Exeunt omnes.

Endnotes

  1. Editors add “Why, aunt,” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  2. Editors add “it” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  3. Editors add “a” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  4. Editors add “so” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  5. Some modern editions combine scenes 4 and 5. See the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition. —⁠S.E. Editor

  6. The number of scenes in act 4 can differ from edition to edition. The Shakespeare Apocrypha’s edition, edited by C. F. Tucker Brooke contains as many as nine scenes. —⁠S.E. Editor

  7. Editors add “streamers” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  8. Editors add “holy” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  9. Editors add “he be” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  10. Editors add “with” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

  11. Editors add another “on” to correct the line’s meter. —⁠S.E. Editor

Colophon

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Edward III
was published anonymously in 1596 and partly written by
William Shakespeare.

This ebook was produced for
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Emma Sweeney,
and is based on a transcription produced in 1999 by the
P.G. Shakespeare Team and The Online Distributed Proofreading Team
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