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  • Title: Edward III (Modern)
  • Editors: Amy Lidster, Sonia Massai

  • Copyright Sonia Massai and Amy Lidster. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editors: Amy Lidster, Sonia Massai
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Edward III (Modern)

    [Scene 1]
    The Reign of King Edward the Third
    Enter King Edward, Derby, Prince Edward, Audley, [Warwick] and Artois.
    5King Edward
    Robert of Artois, banished though thou be
    From France, thy native country, yet with us
    Thou shalt retain as great a seigniory,
    For we create thee Earl of Richmond here.
    10And now go forwards with our pedigree,
    Who next succeeded Philip le Beau?
    Artois
    Three sons of his, which all successively
    Did sit upon their father's regal throne,
    Yet died and left no issue of their loins.
    15King 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
    20Your gracious self, the flower of Europe's hope,
    Derivèd is inheritor to France.
    But note the rancor of rebellious minds:
    When thus the lineage of le Beau was out,
    The French obscured your mother's privilege,
    25And though she were the next of blood, proclaimed
    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,
    30Except he be descended of the male;
    And that's the special ground of their contempt,
    Wherewith they study to exclude your grace.
    King Edward
    But they shall find that forgèd ground of theirs
    To be but dusty heaps of brittle sand.
    35Artois
    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
    40Provokes 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?
    Ah, wherein may our duty more be seen
    45Than 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 vigor of thy words
    50Hot courage is engendered in my breast,
    Which heretofore was racked 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
    55That spurn against my sovereignty in France.
    Sound a horn.
    A messenger. -- Lord Audley, know from whence.
    Enter a messenger, Lorraine.
    Audley
    The Duke of Lorraine, having crossed the seas,
    Entreats he may have conference with your highness.
    60King Edward
    Admit him, lords, that we may hear the news. --
    Say, Duke of Lorraine, wherefore art thou come?
    Lorraine
    The most renownèd prince, King John of France,
    Doth greet thee Edward, and by me commands
    That for so much as by his liberal gift
    65The Guienne dukedom is entailed 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,
    70Thou mayst 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,
    75But straight I am invited, nay with threats,
    Upon a penalty enjoined 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,
    80But how? Not servilely disposed to bend,
    But like a conqueror to make him bow;
    His lame unpolished shifts are come to light,
    And truth hath pulled the vizard from his face
    That set a gloss upon his arrogance.
    85Dare 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,
    90Which if with grudging he refuse to yield,
    I'll take away those borrowed 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.
    95Prince
    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,
    100And 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 warnèd by his harm.
    Warwick
    Bid him leave off the lion's case he wears
    105Lest, 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 constrained.
    A voluntary mischief hath less scorn
    110Than when reproach with violence is born.
    Lorraine
    Degenerate traitor, viper to the place
    Where thou wast fostered in thine infancy!
    Bearst thou a part in this conspiracy?
    He draws his sword.
    115King Edward
    [Drawing his sword.] Lorraine, behold the sharpness of this steel:
    Fervent desire that sits against my heart
    Is far more thorny-pricking than this blade,
    That with the nightingale I shall be scarred
    As oft as I dispose myself to rest
    120Until my colors be displayed 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 poisoned view:
    That is most false, should most of all be true.
    [Exit Lorraine.]
    125King Edward
    Now, Lord, our fleeting bark is under sail,
    Our gage is thrown and war is soon begun,
    But not so quickly brought unto an end.
    Enter Montague.
    But wherefore comes Sir William Montague?
    130How stands the league between the Scot and us?
    Montague
    Cracked and dissevered, my renownèd lord:
    The treacherous king no sooner was informed
    Of your withdrawing of your army back,
    But straight, forgetting of his former oath,
    135He made invasion on the bordering towns:
    Berwick is won, Newcastle spoiled and lost,
    And now the tyrant hath begirt with siege
    The castle of Roxborough, where enclosed
    The Countess Salisbury is like to perish.
    140King Edward
    That is thy daughter, Warwick, is it not?
    Whose husband hath in Bretagne served so long
    About the planting of Lord Mountford there?
    Warwick
    It is, my lord.
    King Edward
    Ignoble David, hast thou none to grieve
    145But 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,
    150In every shire elect a several band,
    Let them be soldiers of a lusty spirit
    Such as dread nothing but dishonor's blot.
    Be wary, therefore, since we do commence
    A famous war and with so mighty a nation.
    155Derby, 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
    160The Emperor of Almagne in our name.
    Myself, whilst you are jointly thus employed,
    Will, with these forces that I have at hand,
    March and once more repulse the traitorous Scot.
    But, sirs, be resolute, we shall have wars
    165On every side; and Ned, thou must begin
    Now to forget thy study and thy books,
    And ure thy shoulders to an armor's weight.
    Prince
    As cheerful sounding to my youthful spleen
    This tumult is of war's increasing broils,
    170As at the coronation of a king
    The joyful clamors of the people are
    When Ave Caesar they pronounce aloud;
    Within this school of honor I shall learn
    Either to sacrifice my foes to death,
    175Or in a rightful quarrel spend my breath.
    Then cheerfully forward each a several way,
    In great affairs 'tis naught to use delay.
    Exeunt.