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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter king Iohn and Charles.
    Ioh: A sodaine darknes hath defast the skie,
    The windes are crept into their caues for feare,
    2085the leaues moue not, the world is husht and still,
    the birdes cease singing, and the wandring brookes,
    Murmure no wonted greeting to their shores,
    Silence attends some wonder, and expecteth
    That heauen should pronounce some prophesie,
    2090Where or from whome proceeds this silence Charles?
    Ch: Our men with open mouthes and staring eyes,
    Looke on each other, as they did attend
    Each others wordes, and yet no creature speakes,
    A tongue-tied feare hath made a midnight houre,
    2095and speeches sleepe through all the waking regions.
    Ioh: But now the pompeous Sunne in all his pride,
    Lookt through his golden coach vpon the worlde,
    and on a sodaine hath he hid himselfe,
    that now the vnder earth is as a graue,
    2100Darke, deadly, silent, and vncomfortable.A clamor of rauens
    Harke, what a deadly outcrie do I heare?
    Ch. Here comes my brother Phillip.
    Ioh. All dismaid. What fearefull words are those thy lookes presage?
    Pr. A flight, a flight.
    2105Ioh: Coward what flight? thou liest there needs no flight.
    Pr. A flight.
    Kin: Awake thy crauen powers, and tell on
    the substance of that verie feare in deed,
    Which is so gastly printed in thy face,
    2110What is the matter?
    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
    2140French 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,
    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. What 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 Wales
    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,
    Would not alone safe conduct giue to them.
    But with all bountie feasted them and theirs.
    Kin: Dwelst thou on presidents, then be it so,
    Say Englishman of what degree thou art.
    2190Sa: An Earle in England, though a prisoner here,
    And those that knowe me call me Salisburie.
    Kin: Then Salisburie, say whether thou art bound.
    Sa. To Callice where my liege king Edward is.
    Kin: To Callice Salisburie, then to Callice packe,
    2195and bid the king prepare a noble graue,
    To put his princely sonne blacke Edward in,
    and as thou trauelst westward from this place,
    Some two leagues hence there is a loftie hill,
    Whose top seemes toplesse, for the imbracing skie,
    2200Doth hide his high head in her azure bosome,
    Vpon whose tall top when thy foot attaines,
    Looke backe vpon the humble vale beneath,
    Humble of late, but now made proud with armes,
    and thence behold the wretched prince of Wales,
    2205Hoopt with a bond of yron round about,
    After which sight to Callice spurre amaine,
    and saie the prince was smoothered, and not slaine,
    and tell the king this is not all his ill,
    For I will greet him ere he thinkes I will,
    2210Awaie be gone, the smoake but of our shot,
    Will choake our foes, though bullets hit them not.Exit.