Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Sonia Massai
Not Peer Reviewed

Edward III (Quarto 1, 1596)


Enter two French men, a woman and two little Children,
meet them another Citizens.
One: Wel met my masters: how now, whats the newes,
And wherefore are ye laden thus with stuffe:
1245What is it quarter daie that you remoue,
And carrie bag and baggage too?
Two: Quarter day, I and quartering pay I feare:
Haue we not heard the newes that flies abroad?
One: What newes?
1250Three: How the French Nauy is destroyd at Sea,
And that the English Armie is arriued.
One: What then?
Two: What then quoth you? why ist not time to flie,
When enuie and destruction is so nigh,
1255One. Content thee man, they are farre enough from hence,
And will be met I warrant ye to their cost,
Before they breake so far into the Realme.
Two: I so the Grashopper doth spend the time,
In mirthfull iollitie till Winter come,
1260And then too late he would redeeme his time,
When frozen cold hath nipt his carelesse head:
He that no sooner will prouide a Cloake,
Then when he sees it doth begin to raigne,
May peraduenture for his negilgence,
1265Be throughly washed when he suspects it not,
We that haue charge, and such a trayne as this,
Must looke in time, to looke for them and vs,
Least when we would, we cannot be relieued.
One: Be like you then dispaire of ill successe,
1270And thinke your Country will be subiugate.
Three. We cannot tell, tis good to feare the worst.
One: Yet rather fight, then like vnnaturall sonnes,
For sake your louing parents in distresse.
Two. Tush they that haue already taken armes,
1275Are manie fearefull millions in respect
Of that small handfull of our enimies:
But tis a rightfull quarrell must preuaile,
Edward is sonnne vnto our late kings sister,
Where Iohn Valoys, is three degrees remoued.
1280Wo: Besides, there goes a Prophesie abroad,
Published by one that was a Fryer once,
Whose Oracles haue many times prooued true,
And now he sayes the tyme will shortly come,
When as a Lyon rowsed in the west,
1285Shall carie hence the fluerdeluce of France,
These I can tell yee and such like surmises,
Strike many french men cold vnto the heart:
Enter a Frenchman.
Flie cuntry men and cytizens of France,
1290Sweete flowring peace the roote of happie life,
Is quite abandoned and expulst the lande,
In sted of whome ransackt constraining warre,
Syts like to Rauens vppon your houses topps,
Slaughter and mischiefe walke within your streets.
1295And vnrestrained make hauock as they passe,
The forme whereof euen now my selfe beheld,
Vpon this faire mountaine whence I came,
For so far of as I directed mine eies,
I might perceaue fiue Cities all on fire,
1300Corne fieldes and vineyards burning like an ouen,
And as the leaking vapour in the wind,
I tourned but a side I like wise might disserne.
The poore inhabitants escapt the flame,
Fall numberles vpon the souldiers pikes,
1305Three waies these dredfull ministers of wrath,
Do tread the measuers of their tragicke march,
Vpon the right hand comes the conquering King,
Vpon the lefte is hot vnbridled sonne,
And in the midst our nations glittering hoast,
1310All which though distant yet conspire in one,
To leaue a desolation where they come,
Flie therefore Citizens if you be wise,
Seeke out som habitation further of,
Here if you staie your wiues will be abused,
1315Your treasure sharde before your weeping eies,
Shelter you yourselues for now the storme doth rise,
Away, away, me thinks I heare their drums,
Ah wreched France, I greatly feare thy fal,
Thy glory shaketh like a tottering wall.