Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Editor: Andrew Griffin
Peer Reviewed

The History of King Leir (Modern)

2387.1[Scene 26] [Video Sc.26]
Sound drums and trumpets
Enter the King of Gallia, Leir, Mumford, and the army
Thus have we brought our army to the sea
Whereas our ships are ready to receive us.
The wind stands fair and we in four hours' sail
May easily arrive on British shore
Where, unexpected, we may them surprise
2395And gain a glorious victory with ease.
Wherefore, my loving countrymen, resolve,
Since truth and justice fighteth on our sides,
That we shall march with conquest where we go.
Myself will be as forward as the first,
2400And step-by-step march with the hardiest wight;
And not the meanest soldier in our camp
Shall be in danger, but I'll second him. --
[To Mumford]To you, my lord, we give the whole command
Of all the army, next unto ourself,
2405Not doubting of you but you will extend
Your wonted valor in this needful case,
Encouraging the rest to do the like
By your approvèd magnanimity.
My liege, 'tis needless to spur a willing horse
2410That's apt enough to run himself to death,
For here I swear by that sweet saint's bright eyes,
Which are the stars which guide me to good hap,
Either to see my old lord crowned anew,
Or in his cause to bid the world adieu.
Thanks, good Lord Mumford, 'tis more of your good will
Than any merit or desert in me.
[To the soldiers] And now to you, my worthy countrymen,
Ye valiant race of Genovestan Gauls,
Surnamed Redshanks for your chivalry,
2420Because you fight up to the shanks in blood,
Show yourselves now to be right Gauls indeed,
And be so bitter on your enemies
That they may say you are as bitter as gall.
Gall them, brave shot, with your artillery,
2425Gall them, brave halberds, with your sharp-point bills,
Each in their 'pointed place. Not one, but all,
Fight for the credit of yourselves and Gaul.
Then what should more persuasion need to those
That rather wish to deal than hear of blows?
2430Let's to our ships. And if that God permit,
In four hours' sail I hope we shall be there.
And in five hours more, I make no doubt
But we shall bring our wished desires about.