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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The Raigne of King
    Pr. A flight of vgly rauens
    Do croke and houer ore our souldiers heads
    And keepe in triangles and cornerd squares,
    Right as our forces are imbatteled,
    2115With 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,
    In briefe, our souldiers haue let fall their armes,
    2120and 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 a feare,
    Returne and harten vp these yeelding soules,
    2125Tell 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,
    For when we see a horse laid downe to die,
    2130although 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,
    Houer about, and if they crie to vs,
    2135Tis 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.
    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,
    And make their waie to the incompast prince,
    2145Dispose 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,