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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    To be the gallowes of an English theefe.
    2150Sa: My Lord of Normandie, I haue your passe,
    And warrant for my safetie through this land.
    Ch. Villiers procurd it for thee, did he not?
    Sal: He did.
    Ch: And it is currant, thou shalt freely passe.
    2155En: Io: I freely to the gallows to be hangd,
    Without deniall or impediment.
    Awaie with him.
    Vil. I hope your highnes will not so disgrace me,
    and dash the vertue of my seale at armes,
    2160He hath my neuer broken name to shew,
    Carectred with this princely hande of mine,
    and rather let me leaue to be a prince,
    Than break the stable verdict of a prince,
    I doo beseech you let him passe in quiet,
    2165Ki: Thou and thy word lie both in my command,
    What canst thou promise that I cannot breake?
    Which of these twaine is greater infamie,
    To disobey thy father or thy selfe?
    Thy word nor no mans may exceed his power,
    2170Nor that same man doth neuer breake his worde,
    That keepes it to the vtmost of his power.
    The breach of faith dwels in the soules consent,
    Which if thy selfe without consent doo breake,
    Thou art not charged with the breach of faith,
    2175Go hang him, for thy lisence lies in mee,
    and my constraint stands the excuse for thee.
    Ch. VVhat am I not a soldier in my word?
    Then armes adieu, and let them fight that list,
    Shall I not giue my girdle from my wast,
    2180But with a gardion I shall be controld,
    To saie I may not giue my things awaie,
    Vpon my soule, had Edward prince of VVales
    Ingagde his word, writ downe his noble hand,
    For all your knights to passe his fathers land,
    2185The roiall king to grace his warlike sonne,
    VVould not alone safe conduct giue to them.