Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Sonia Massai
Not Peer Reviewed

Edward III (Quarto 1, 1596)


Enter Prince Edward, Audley andothers.
Pr: Audley the armes of death embrace vs round,
And comfort haue we none saue that to die,
1920We pay sower earnest for a sweeter life,
At Cressey field our Clouds of Warlike smoke,
chokt vp those French mouths, & disseuered them
But now their multitudes of millions hide
Masking as twere the beautious burning Sunne,
1925Leauing no hope to vs but sullen darke,
And eie lesse terror of all ending night.
Au. This suddaine, mightie, and expedient head,
That they haue made, faire Prince is wonderfull.
Before vs in the vallie lies the king,
1930Vantagd with all that heauen and earth can yeeld,
His partie stronger battaild then our whole:
His sonne the brauing Duke of Normandie,
Hath trimd the Mountaine on our right hand vp,
In shining plate, that now the aspiring hill,
1935Shewes like a siluer quarrie, oran orbe
Aloft the which the Banners bannarets,
And new replenisht pendants cuff the aire,
And beat the windes, that for their gaudinesse,
Struggles to kisse them on our left handlies,
1940Phillip the younger issue of the king,
Coting the other hill in such arraie,
That all his guilded vpright pikes do seeme,
Streight trees of gold, the pendant leaues,
And their deuice of Antique heraldry,
1945Quartred in collours seeming sundy fruits,
Makes it the Orchard of the Hesperides,
Behinde vs two the hill doth beare his height,
For like a halfe Moone opening but one way,
It rounds vs in, there at our backs are lodgd,
1950The fatall Crosbowes, and the battaile there,
Is gouernd by the rough Chattillion,
Then thus it stands, the valleie for our flight,
The king binds in, the hils on either hand,
Are proudly royalized by his sonnes,
1955And on the Hill behind stands certaine death,
In pay and seruice with Chattillion.
Pr: Deathes name is much more mightie then his deeds,
Thy parcelling this power hath made it more,
As many sands as these my hands can hold,
1960are but my handful of so many sands,
Then all the world, and call it but a power:
Easely tane vp and quickly throwne away,
But if I stand to count them sand by sand
The number would confound my memorie,
1965And make a thousand millions of a taske,
Which briefelie is no more indeed then one,
These quarters, spuadrons, and these regements,
Before, behinde vs, and on either hand,
Are but a power, when we name a man,
1970His hand, his foote, his head hath seuerall strengthes,
And being al but one selfe instant strength,
Why all this many, Audely is but one,
And we can call it all but one mans strength:
He that hath farre to goe, tels it by miles,
1975If he should tell the steps, it kills his hart:
The drops are infinite that make a floud,
And yet thou knowest we call it but a Raine:
There is but one Fraunce, one king of Fraunce,
That Fraunce hath no more kings, and that same king
1980Hath but the puissant legion of one king?
And we haue one, then apprehend no ods,
For one to one, is faire equalitie.
Enter an Herald from king Iohn.
Pr: What tidings messenger, be playne and briefe.
1985He: The king of Fraunce my soueraigne Lord and master,
Greets by me his fo, the Prince of Wals,
If thou call forth a hundred men of name
Of Lords, Knights, Esquires and English gentlemen,
And with thy selfe and those kneele at his feete,
1990He straight will fold his bloody collours vp,
And ransome shall redeeme liues forfeited:
If not, this day shall drinke more English blood,
Then ere was buried in our Bryttish earth,
What is the answere to his profered mercy?
1995Pr, This heauen that couers Fraunce containes the mercy
That drawes from me submissiue orizons,
That such base breath should vanish from my lips
To vrge the plea of mercie to a man,
The Lord forbid, returne and tell the king,
2000My tongue is made of steele, and it shall beg
My mercie on his coward burgonet.
Tell him my colours are as red as his,
My men as bold, our English armes as strong,
returne him my defiance in his face.
2005He. I go.
Enter another.
Pr: What newes with thee?
He. The Duke of Normandie my Lord & master
Pittying thy youth is so ingirt with perill,
2010By me hath sent a nimble ioynted iennet,
As swift as euer yet thou didst bestride,
And therewithall he counsels thee to flie,
Els death himself hath sworne that thou shalt die.
P: Back with the beast vnto the beast that sent him
2015Tell him I cannot sit a cowards horse,
Bid him to daie bestride the iade himselfe,
For I will staine my horse quite ore with bloud,
And double guild my spurs, but I will catch him,
So tell the capring boy, and get thee gone.
2020
Enter another.
He: Edward of Wales, Phillip the second sonne
To the most mightie christian king of France,
Seeing thy bodies liuing date expird,
All full of charitie and christian loue,
2025Commends this booke full fraught with prayers,
To thy faire hand, and for thy of lyfe,
Intreats thee that thou meditate therein,
And arme thy soule for hir long iourney towards.
Thus haue I done his bidding, and returne.
2030Pr. Herald of Phillip greet thy Lord from me,
All good that he can send I can receiue,
But thinkst thou not the vnaduised boy,
Hath wrongd himselfe in this far tendering me,
Happily he cannot praie without the booke,
2035I thinke him no diuine extemporall,
Then render backe this common place of prayer,
To do himselfe good in aduersitie,
Besides, he knows not my sinnes qualitie,
and therefore knowes no praiers for my auaile,
2040Ere night his praier may be to praie to God,
To put it in my heart to heare his praier,
So tell the courtly wanton, and be gone.
He. I go.
Pr. How confident their strength and number makes them,
2045Now Audley sound those siluer winges of thine,
And let those milke white messengers of time,
Shew thy times learning in this dangerous time,
Thy selfe art busie, and bit with many broiles,
And stratagems forepast with yron pens,
2050Are texted in thine honorable face,
Thou art a married man in this distresse.
But danger wooes me as a blushing maide,
Teach me an answere to this perillous time.
Aud. To die is all as common as to liue,
2055The one in choice the other holds in chase,
For from the instant we begin to liue,
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
2060Followes the bodie, so we follow death,
If then we hunt for death, why do we feare it?
If we feare it, why do we follow it?
If we do feare, how can we shun it?
If we do feare, with feare we do but aide
2065The thing we feare, to seizeon vs the sooner,
If wee feare not, then no resolued proffer,
Can ouerthrow the limit of our fate,
For whether ripe or rotten, drop we shall,
as we do drawe the lotterie of our doome.
2070Pri. Ah good olde man, a thousand thousand armors,
These wordes of thine haue buckled on my backe,
Ah what an idiot hast thou made of lyfe,
To seeke the thing it feares, and how disgrast,
The imperiall victorie of murdring death,
2075Since all the liues his conquering arrowes strike,
Seeke him, and he not them, to shame his glorie,
I will not giue a pennie for a lyfe,
Nor halfe a halfepenie to shun grim death,
Since for to liue is but to seeke to die,
2080And dying but beginning of new lyfe,
Let come the houre when he that rules it will,
To liue or die I hold indifferent.
Exeunt.