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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Raigne of King
    Fiue hundred yeeres hath helde the scepter vp,
    Iudge then conspiratours by this descent,
    1460Which is the true borne soueraigne this or that.
    Pri: Father range your battailes, prate no more,
    These English faine would spend the time in wodrs,
    That night approching, they might escape vnfought.
    K. Ioh: Lords and my louing Subiects knowes the time,
    1465That your intended force must bide the touch,
    Therfore my frinds consider this in breefe,
    He that you fight for is your naturall King,
    He against whom you fight a forrener:
    He that you fight for rules in clemencie,
    1470And raines you with a mild and gentle byt,
    He against whome you fight if hee preuaile,
    Will straight inthrone himselfe in tyrranie,
    Make slaues of you, and with a heauie hand
    Curtall and courb your swetest libertie.
    1475Then to protect your Country and your King,
    Let but the haughty Courrage of your hartes,
    Answere the number of your able handes,
    And we shall quicklie chase theis fugitiues,
    For whats this Edward but a belly god,
    1480A tender and lasciuious wantonnes,
    That thother daie was almost dead for loue,
    And what I praie you is his goodly gard,
    Such as but scant them of their chines of beefe,
    And take awaie their downie featherbedes,
    1485And presently they are as resty stiffe,
    As twere a many ouer ridden iades,
    Then French men scorne that such should be your Lords
    And rather bind ye them in captiue bands,
    All Fra: Viue le Roy, God saue King Iohn of France.
    1490Io: Now on this plaine of Cressie spred your selues,
    And Edward when thou darest, begin the fight:
    Ki. Ed: We presently wil meet thee Iohn of Fraunce,
    And English Lordes let vs resolue the daie,
    Either to cleere vs of that scandalous cryme,