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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Prince Edward, Audley and others.
    Pr: Audley the armes of death embrace vs round,
    And comfort haue we none saue that to die,
    We pay sower earnest for a sweeter life,
    1920At Cressey field our Clouds of Warlike smoke,
    chokt vp those French mouths, & disseuered them
    But now their multitudes of millions hide
    Masking as twere the beautious burning Sunne,
    Leauing no hope to vs but sullen darke,
    Edward the third.
    1925And eie lesse terror of all ending night.
    Au. This suddaine, mightie, and expedient head,
    That they haue made, faire Prince is wonderfull.
    Before vs in the vallie lies the king,
    Vantagd with all that heauen and earth can yeeld,
    1930His partie stronger battaild then our whole:
    His sonne the brauing Duke of Normandie,
    Hath trimd the Mountaine on our right hand vp,
    In shining plate, that now the aspiring hill,
    Shewes like a siluer quarrie, or an orbe
    1935Aloft the which the Banners bannarets,
    And new replenisht pendants cuff the aire,
    And beat the windes, that for their gaudinesse,
    Struggles to kisse them on our left hand lies,
    Phillip the younger issue of the king,
    1940Coting the other hill in such arraie,
    That all his guilded vpright pikes do seeme,
    Streight trees of gold, the pendant leaues,
    And their deuice of Antique heraldry,
    Quartred in collours seeming sundy fruits,
    1945Makes it the Orchard of the Hesperides,
    Behinde vs two the hill doth beare his height,
    For like a halfe Moone opening but one way,
    It rounds vs in, there at our backs are lodgd,
    The fatall Crosbowes, and the battaile there,
    1950Is gouernd by the rough Chattillion,
    Then thus it stands, the valleie for our flight,
    The king binds in, the hils on either hand,
    Are proudly royalized by his sonnes,
    And on the Hill behind stands certaine death,
    1955In pay and seruice with Chattillion.
    Pr: Deathes name is much more mightie then his deeds,
    Thy parcelling this power hath made it more,
    As many sands as these my hands can hold,
    are but my handful of so many sands,
    1960Then all the world, and call it but a power:
    Easely tane vp and quickly throwne away,
    But if I stand to count them sand by sand
    2 The
    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,
    Edward the third.
    My tongue is made of steele, and it shall beg
    2000My mercie on his coward burgonet.
    Tell him my colours are as red as his,
    My men as bold, our English armes as strong,
    returne him my defiance in his face.
    He. I go.
    2005Enter another.
    Pr: What newes with thee?
    He. The Duke of Normandie my Lord & master
    Pittying thy youth is so ingirt with perill,
    By me hath sent a nimble ioynted iennet,
    2010As swift as euer yet thou didst bestride,
    And therewithall he counsels thee to flie,
    Els death himself hath sworne that thou shalt die.
    P: Back with the beast vnto the beast that sent him
    Tell him I cannot sit a cowards horse,
    2015Bid him to daie bestride the iade himselfe,
    For I will staine my horse quite ore with bloud,
    And double guild my spurs, but I will catch him,
    So tell the capring boy, and get thee gone.
    Enter another.
    2020He: Edward of Wales, Phillip the second sonne
    To the most mightie christian king of France,
    Seeing thy bodies liuing date expird,
    All full of charitie and christian loue,
    Commends this booke full fraught with prayers,
    2025To thy faire hand, and for thy houre of lyfe,
    Intreats thee that thou meditate therein,
    And arme thy soule for hir long iourney towards.
    Thus haue I done his bidding, and returne.
    Pr. Herald of Phillip greet thy Lord from me,
    2030All good that he can send I can receiue,
    But thinkst thou not the vnaduised boy,
    Hath wrongd himselfe in this far tendering me,
    Happily he cannot praie without the booke,
    I thinke him no diuine extemporall,
    2035Then render backe this common place of prayer,
    3 To
    The Raigne of King
    To do himselfe good in aduersitie,
    Besides, he knows not my sinnes qualitie,
    and therefore knowes no praiers for my auaile,
    Ere night his praier may be to praie to God,
    2040To put it in my heart to heare his praier,
    So tell the courtly wanton, and be gone.
    He. I go.
    Pr. How confident their strength and number makes them,
    Now Audley sound those siluer winges of thine,
    2045And let those milke white messengers of time,
    Shew thy times learning in this dangerous time,
    Thy selfe art busie, and bit with many broiles,
    And stratagems forepast with yron pens,
    Are texted in thine honorable face,
    2050Thou art a married man in this distresse.
    But danger wooes me as a blushing maide,
    Teach me an answere to this perillous time.
    Aud. To die is all as common as to liue,
    The one in choice the other holds in chase,
    2055For from the instant we begin to liue,
    We do pursue and hunt the time to die,
    First bud we, then we blow, and after seed,
    Then presently we fall, and as a shade
    Followes the bodie, so we follow death,
    2060If then we hunt for death, why do we feare it?
    If we feare it, why do we follow it?
    If we do feare, how can we shun it?
    If we do feare, with feare we do but aide
    The thing we feare, to seize on vs the sooner,
    2065If wee feare not, then no resolued proffer,
    Can ouerthrow the limit of our fate,
    For whether ripe or rotten, drop we shall,
    as we do drawe the lotterie of our doome.
    Pri. Ah good olde man, a thousand thousand armors,
    2070These wordes of thine haue buckled on my backe,
    Ah what an idiot hast thou made of lyfe,
    To seeke the thing it feares, and how disgrast,
    The imperiall victorie of murdring death,
    Edward the third.
    Since all the liues his conquering arrowes strike,
    2075Seeke him, and he not them, to shame his glorie,
    I will not giue a pennie for a lyfe,
    Nor halfe a halfepenie to shun grim death,
    Since for to liue is but to seeke to die,
    And dying but beginning of new lyfe,
    2080Let come the houre when he that rules it will,
    To liue or die I hold indifferent. Exeunt.