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About this text

  • Title: Edward III (Quarto 1, 1596)
  • Editor: Sonia Massai

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    Not Peer Reviewed

    Edward III (Quarto 1, 1596)

    Edward the third.
    How much more shall the straines of poets wit,
    Beguild and rauish soft and humane myndes.
    Lor: To whome my Lord shal I direct my stile.
    King: To one that shames the faire and sots the wise,
    435Whose bodie is an abstract or a breefe,
    Containes ech generall vertue in the worlde,
    Better then bewtifull thou must begin,
    Deuise for faire a fairer word then faire,
    And euery ornament that thou wouldest praise,
    440Fly it a pitch aboue the soare of praise,
    For flattery feare thou not to be conuicted,
    For were thy admiration ten tymes more,
    Ten tymes ten thousand more thy worth exceeds,
    Of that thou art to praise their praises worth,
    445Beginne I will to contemplat the while,
    Forget not to set downe how passionat,
    How hart sicke and how full of languishment,
    Her beautie makes mee,
    Lor: Writ I to a woman?
    450King: What bewtie els could triumph on me,
    Or who but women doe our loue layes greet,
    What thinekst thou I did bid thee praise a horse.
    Lor, Of what condicion or estate she is,
    Twere requisit that I should know my Lord,
    455King: Of such estate, that hers is as a throane,
    And my estate the footstoole where shee treads,
    Then maist thou iudge what her condition is,
    By the proportion of her mightines,
    Write on while I peruse her in my thoughts,
    460Her voice to musicke or the nightingale,
    To musicke euery sommer leaping swaine,
    Compares his sunburnt louer when shee speakes,
    And why should I speake of the nightingale,
    The nightingale singes of adulterate wrong,
    465And that compared is to satyrical,
    For sinne though synne would not be so esteemd,