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Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Raigne of King
    The number would confound my memorie,
    And make a thousand millions of a taske,
    1965Which 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,
    His hand, his foote, his head hath seuerall strengthes,
    1970And 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,
    If he should tell the steps, it kills his hart:
    1975The 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
    Hath but the puissant legion of one king?
    1980And 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.
    He: The king of Fraunce my soueraigne Lord and master,
    1985Greets 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,
    He straight will fold his bloody collours vp,
    1990And 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?
    Pr, This heauen that couers Fraunce containes the mercy
    1995That 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,