Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Sonia Massai
Not Peer Reviewed

Edward III (Quarto 1, 1596)


Enter king Iohn and Charles.
Ioh: A sodaine darknes hath defast the skie,
2085The windes are crept into their caues for feare,
the leaues moue not, the world is husht and still,
the birdes cease singing, and the wandring brookes,
Murmure no wonted greeting to their shores,
Silence attends some wonder, and expecteth
2090That heauen should pronounce some prophesie,
Where or from whome proceeds this silence Charles?
Ch: Our men with open mouthes and staring eyes,
Looke on each other, as they did attend
Each others wordes, and yet no creature speakes,
2095A tongue-tied feare hath made a midnight houre,
and speeches sleepe through all the waking regions.
Ioh: But now the pompeous Sunne in all his pride,
Lookt through his golden coach vpon the worlde,
and on a sodaine hath he hid himselfe,
2100that now the vnder earth is as a graue,
Darke, deadly, silent, and vncomfortable.
A clamor of rauens
Harke, what a deadly outcrie do I heare?
Ch. Here comes my brother Phillip.
Ioh. All dismaid. What fearefull words are those thy lookes presage?
2105Pr. A flight, a flight.
Ioh: Coward what flight? thou liest there needs no flight.
Pr. A flight.
Kin: Awake thy crauen powers, and tell on
the substance of that verie feare in deed,
2110Which is so gastly printed in thy face,
What is the matter?
Pr. A flight of vgly rauens
Do croke and houer ore our souldiers heads
And keepe in triangles and cornerd squares,
2115Right as our forces areimbatteled,
With their approach there came this sodain fog,
Which now hath hid the airie flower of heauen,
And made at noone a night vnnaturall,
Vpon the quaking and dismaied world,
2120In briefe, our souldiers haue let fall their armes,
and stand like metamorphosd images,
Bloudlesse and pale, one gazing on another.
Io: I now I call to mind the prophesie,
But I must giue no enterance to afeare,
2125Returne and harten vp these yeelding soules,
Tell them the rauens seeing them in armes,
So many faire against a famisht few,
Come but to dine vpon their handie worke,
and praie vpon the carrion that they kill,
2130For when we see a horse laid downe to die,
although not dead, the rauenous birds
Sit watching the departure of his life,
Euen so these rauens for the carcases,
Of those poore English that are markt to die,
2135Houer about, and if they crie to vs,
Tis but for meate that we must kill for them,
Awaie and comfort vp my souldiers,
and sound the trumpets, and at once dispatch
This litle busines of a silly fraude.
Exit Pr.
2140
Another noise, Salisbury brought in by a
French Captaine.
Cap: Behold my liege, this knight and fortie mo,
Of whom the better part are slaine and fled,
With all indeuor sought to breake our rankes,
2145And make their waie to the incompast prince,
Dispose of him as please your maiestie.
Io: Go, & the next bough, souldier, that thou seest,
Disgrace it with his bodie presently,
Eor I doo hold a tree in France too good,
2150To be the gallowes of an English theefe.
Sa: My Lord of Norman die, I haue your passe,
And warrant for my safetie through this land.
Ch. Villiers procurd it for thee, did he not?
Sal: He did.
2155Ch: And it is currant, thou shalt freely passe.
En: Io: I freely to the gallows to be hangd,
Without deniall or impediment.
Awaie with him.
Vil. I hope your highnes will not so disgrace me,
2160and dash the vertue of my seale at armes,
He hath my neuer broken name to shew,
Carectred with this princely hande of mine,
and rather let me leaue to be a prince,
Than break the stable verdict of a prince,
2165I doo beseech you let him passe in quiet,
Ki: Thou and thy word lie both in my command,
What canst thou promise that I cannot breake?
Which of these twaine is greater infamie,
To disobey thy father or thy selfe?
2170Thy word nor no mans may exceed his power,
Nor that same man doth neuer breake his worde,
That keepes it to the vtmost of his power.
The breach of faith dwels in the soules consent,
Which if thy selfe without consent doo breake,
2175Thou art not charged with the breach of faith,
Go hang him, for thy lisence lies in mee,
and my constraint stands the excuse for thee.
Ch. VVhat am I not a soldier in my word?
Then armes adieu, and let them fight that list,
2180Shall I not giue my girdle from my wast,
But with a gardion I shall be controld,
To saie I may not giue my things awaie,
Vpon my soule, had Edward prince of VVales
Ingagde his word, writ downe his noble hand,
2185For all your knights to passe his fathers land,
The roiall king to grace his warlike sonne,
VVould not alone safe conduct giue to them.
But with all bountie feasted them and theirs.
Kin: Dwelst thou on presidents, then be it so,
2190Say Englishman of what degree thou art.
Sa: An Earle in England, though a prisoner here,
And those that knowe me call me Salisburie.
Kin: Then Salisburie, say whether thou art bound.
Sa. To Callice where my liege king Edward is.
2195Kin: To Callice Salisburie, then to Callice packe,
and bid the king prepare a noble graue,
To put his princely sonne blacke Edward in,
and as thou trauelst westward from this place,
Some two leagues hence there is a loftie hill,
2200Whose top seemes toplesse, for the imbracing skie,
Doth hide his high head in her azure bosome,
Vpon whose tall top when thy foot attaines,
Looke backe vpon the humble vale beneath,
Humble of late, but now made proud with armes,
2205and thence behold the wretched prince of Wales,
Hoopt with a bond of yron round about,
After which sight to Callice spurre amaine,
and saie the prince was smoothered, and not slaine,
and tell the king this is not all his ill,
2210For I will greet him ere he thinkes I will,
Awaie be gone, the smoake but of our shot,
Will choake our foes, though bullets hit them not.
Exit.