Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Sonia Massai
Not Peer Reviewed

Edward III (Quarto 1, 1596)


The Raigne of King
Fiue hundred yeeres hath helde the scepter vp,
1460Iudge then conspiratours by this descent,
Which is the true borne soueraigne this or that.
Pri: Father range your battailes, prate no more,
These English faine would spend the time in wodrs,
That night approching, they might escape vnfought.
1465K. Ioh: Lords and my louing Subiects knowes the time,
That your intended force must bide the touch,
Therfore my frinds consider this in breefe,
He that you fight for is your naturall King,
He against whom you fight a forrener:
1470He that you fight for rules in clemencie,
And raines you with a mild and gentle byt,
He against whome you fight if hee preuaile,
Will straight inthrone himselfe in tyrranie,
Make slaues of you, and with a heauie hand
1475Curtall and courb your swetest libertie.
Then to protect your Country and your King,
Let but the haughty Courrage of your hartes,
Answere the number of your able handes,
And we shall quicklie chase theis fugitiues,
1480For whats this Edward but a belly god,
A tender and lasciuious wantonnes,
That thother daie was almost dead for loue,
And what I praie you is his goodly gard,
Such as but scant them of their chines of beefe,
1485And take awaie their downie featherbedes,
And presently they are as resty stiffe,
As twere a many ouer ridden iades,
Then French men scorne that such should be your Lords
And rather bind ye them in captiue bands,
1490All Fra: Viue le Roy, God saue King Iohn of France.
Io: Now on this plaine of Cressie spred your selues,
And Edward when thou darest, begin the fight:
Ki. Ed: We presently wil meet thee Iohn of Fraunce,
And English Lordes let vs resolue the daie,
1495Either to cleere vs of that scandalous cryme,
Or