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King Edward the Third by William Shakespeare [Apocrypha]

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Welcome, fair Prince! How hast thou sped, my son,
Since thy arrival on the coast of France?

Successfully, I thank the gracious heavens:
Some of their strongest Cities we have won,
As Harflew, Lo, Crotay, and Carentigne,
And others wasted, leaving at our heels
A wide apparent field and beaten path
For solitariness to progress in:
Yet those that would submit we kindly pardoned,
But who in scorn refused our proffered peace,
Endured the penalty of sharp revenge.

Ah, France, why shouldest thou be thus obstinate
Against the kind embracement of thy friends?
How gently had we thought to touch thy breast
And set our foot upon thy tender mould,
But that, in froward and disdainful pride,
Thou, like a skittish and untamed colt,
Dost start aside and strike us with thy heels!
But tell me, Ned, in all thy warlike course,
Hast thou not seen the usurping King of France?

Yes, my good Lord, and not two hours ago,
With full a hundred thousand fighting men--
Upon the one side of the river's bank
And on the other both, his multitudes.
I feared he would have cropped our smaller power:
But happily, perceiving your approach,
He hath with drawn himself to Cressey plains;
Where, as it seemeth by his good array,
He means to bid us battle presently.

He shall be welcome; that's the thing we crave.

[Enter King John, Dukes of Normandy and Lorrain,
King of Boheme, young Phillip, and Soldiers.]

Edward, know that John, the true king of France,
Musing thou shouldst encroach upon his land,
And in thy tyranous proceeding slay
His faithful subjects and subvert his Towns,
Spits in thy face; and in this manner following
Obraids thee with thine arrogant intrusion:
First, I condemn thee for a fugitive,
A thievish pirate, and a needy mate,
One that hath either no abiding place,
Or else, inhabiting some barren soil,
Where neither herb or fruitful grain is had,
Doest altogether live by pilfering:
Next, insomuch thou hast infringed thy faith,
Broke leage and solemn covenant made with me,
I hold thee for a false pernicious wretch:
And, last of all, although I scorn to cope
With one so much inferior to my self,
Yet, in respect thy thirst is all for gold,
Thy labour rather to be feared than loved,
To satisfy thy lust in either part,
Here am I come, and with me have I brought
Exceeding store of treasure, pearl, and coin.
Leave, therefore, now to persecute the weak,
And armed entering conflict with the armed,
Let it be seen, mongest other petty thefts,
How thou canst win this pillage manfully.

If gall or wormwood have a pleasant taste,
Then is thy salutation honey sweet;
But as the one hath no such property,
So is the other most satirical.
Yet wot how I regard thy worthless taunts:
If thou have uttered them to foil my fame
Or dim the reputation of my birth,
Know that thy wolvish barking cannot hurt;
If slyly to insinuate with the world,
And with a strumpet's artificial line
To paint thy vicious and deformed cause,
Be well assured, the counterfeit will fade,
And in the end thy foul defects be seen;
But if thou didst it to provoke me on,
As who should say I were but timorous.
Or, coldly negligent, did need a spur,
Bethink thy self how slack I was at sea,
How since my landing I have won no towns,
Entered no further but upon the coast,
And there have ever since securely slept.
But if I have been other wise employed,
Imagine, Valois, whether I intend
To skirmish, not for pillage, but for the Crown
Which thou dost wear; and that I vow to have,
Or one of us shall fall into his grave.

Look not for cross invectives at our hands,
Or railing execrations of despite:
Let creeping serpents, hid in hollow banks,
Sting with their tongues; we have remorseless swords,
And they shall plead for us and our affairs.
Yet thus much, briefly, by my father's leave:
As all the immodest poison of thy throat
Is scandalous and most notorious lies,
And our pretended quarrel is truly just,
So end the battle when we meet to day:
May either of us prosper and prevail,
Or, luckless, curst, receive eternal shame!

That needs no further question; and I know,
His conscience witnesseth, it is my right.--
Therefore, Valois, say, wilt thou yet resign,
Before the sickles thrust into the Corn,
Or that inkindled fury turn to flame?

Edward, I know what right thou hast in France;
And ere I basely will resign my Crown,
This Champion field shall be a pool of blood,
And all our prospect as a slaughter house.

Aye, that approves thee, tyrant, what thou art:
No father, king, or shepherd of thy realm,
But one, that tears her entrails with thy hands,
And, like a thirsty tyger, suckst her blood.

You peers of France, why do you follow him
That is so prodigal to spend your lives?

Whom should they follow, aged impotent,
But he that is their true borne sovereign?

Obraidst thou him, because within his face
Time hath ingraved deep characters of age?
Know, these grave scholars of experience,
Like stiff grown oaks, will stand immovable,
When whirl wind quickly turns up younger trees.

Was ever any of thy father's house
King but thyself, before this present time?
Edward's great linage, by the mother's side,
Five hundred years hath held the scepter up:
Judge then, conspiratours, by this descent,
Which is the true borne sovereign, this or that.

Father, range your battles, prate no more;
These English fain would spend the time in words,
That, night approaching, they might escape unfought.

Lords and my loving Subjects, now's the time,
That your intended force must bide the touch.
Therefore, my friends, consider this in brief:
He that you fight for is your natural King;
He against whom you fight, a foreigner:
He that you fight for, rules in clemency,
And reins you with a mild and gentle bit;
He against whom you fight, if he prevail,
Will straight inthrone himself in tyranny,
Makes slaves of you, and with a heavy hand
Curtail and curb your sweetest liberty.
Then, to protect your Country and your King,
Let but the haughty Courage of your hearts
Answer the number of your able hands,
And we shall quickly chase these fugitives.
For what's this Edward but a belly god,
A tender and lascivious wantoness,
That thother day was almost dead for love?
And what, I pray you, is his goodly guard?
Such as, but scant them of their chines of beef
And take away their downy featherbeds,
And presently they are as resty stiff,
As twere a many over ridden jades.
Then, French men, scorn that such should be your Lords,
And rather bind ye them in captive bands.

Vive le Roy! God save King John of France!

Now on this plain of Cressy spread your selves,--
And, Edward, when thou darest, begin the fight.

[Exeunt King John, Charles, Philip, Lorrain, Boheme,
and Forces.]

We presently will meet thee, John of France:--
And, English Lords, let us resolve this day,
Either to clear us of that scandalous crime,
Or be intombed in our innocence.
And, Ned, because this battle is the first
That ever yet thou foughtest in pitched field,
As ancient custom is of Martialists,
To dub thee with the tip of chivalry,
In solemn manner we will give thee arms.
Come, therefore, Heralds, orderly bring forth
A strong attirement for the prince my son.

[Enter four Heralds, bringing in a coat armour, a
helmet, a lance, and a shield.]

Edward Plantagenet, in the name of God,
As with this armour I impale thy breast,
So be thy noble unrelenting heart
Walled in with flint of matchless fortitude,
That never base affections enter there:
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou comest!
Now follow, Lords, and do him honor to.

Edward Plantagenet, prince of Wales,
As I do set this helmet on thy head,
Wherewith the chamber of thy brain is fenst,
So may thy temples, with Bellona's hand,
Be still adorned with laurel victory:
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou comest!

Edward Plantagenet, prince of Wales,
Receive this lance into thy manly hand;
Use it in fashion of a brazen pen,
To draw forth bloody stratagems in France,
And print thy valiant deeds in honor's book:
Fight and be valiant, vanquish where thou comest!

Edward Plantagenet, prince of Wales,
Hold, take this target, wear it on thy arm;
And may the view thereof, like Perseus' shield,
Astonish and transform thy gazing foes
To senseless images of meager death:
Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou comest!

Now wants there nought but knighthood, which deferred
We leave, till thou hast won it in the field.

My gracious father and ye forward peers,
This honor you have done me, animates
And cheers my green, yet scarce appearing strength
With comfortable good presaging signs,
No other wise than did old Jacob's words,
When as he breathed his blessings on his sons.
These hallowed gifts of yours when I profane,
Or use them not to glory of my God,
To patronage the fatherless and poor,
Or for the benefit of England's peace,
Be numb my joints, wax feeble both mine arms,
Wither my heart, that, like a sapless tree,
I may remain the map of infamy.

Then thus our steeled Battles shall be ranged:
The leading of the vaward, Ned, is thine;
To dignify whose lusty spirit the more,
We temper it with Audly's gravity,
That, courage and experience joined in one,
Your manage may be second unto none:
For the main battles, I will guide my self;
And, Darby, in the rearward march behind,
That orderly disposed and set in ray,
Let us to horse; and God grant us the day!



[Alarum. Enter a many French men flying. After them
Prince Edward, running. Then enter King John and Duke
of Lorrain.]

Oh, Lorrain, say, what mean our men to fly?
Our number is far greater than our foes.

The garrison of Genoaes, my Lord,
That came from Paris weary with their march,
Grudging to be so suddenly imployd,
No sooner in the forefront took their place,
But, straight retiring, so dismayed the rest,
As likewise they betook themselves to flight,
In which, for haste to make a safe escape,
More in the clustering throng are pressed to death,
Than by the enemy, a thousand fold.

O hapless fortune! Let us yet assay,
If we can counsel some of them to stay.



[Enter King Edward and Audley.]

Lord Audley, whiles our son is in the chase,
With draw our powers unto this little hill,
And here a season let us breath our selves.

I will, my Lord.

[Exit. Sound Retreat.]

Just dooming heaven, whose secret providence
To our gross judgement is inscrutable,
How are we bound to praise thy wondrous works,
That hast this day given way unto the right,
And made the wicked stumble at them selves!

[Enter Artois.]

Rescue, king Edward! rescue for thy son!

Rescue, Artois? what, is he prisoner,
Or by violence fell beside his horse?

Neither, my Lord: but narrowly beset
With turning Frenchmen, whom he did pursue,
As tis impossible that he should scape,
Except your highness presently descend.

Tut, let him fight; we gave him arms to day,
And he is laboring for a knighthood, man.

[Enter Derby.]

The Prince, my Lord, the Prince! oh, succour him!
He's close incompast with a world of odds!

Then will he win a world of honor too,
If he by valour can redeem him thence;
If not, what remedy? we have more sons
Than one, to comfort our declining age.

[Enter Audley.]

Renowned Edward, give me leave, I pray,
To lead my soldiers where I may relieve
Your Grace's son, in danger to be slain.
The snares of French, like Emmets on a bank,
Muster about him; whilest he, Lion like,
Intangled in the net of their assaults,
Franticly wrends, and bites the woven toil;
But all in vain, he cannot free him self.

Audley, content; I will not have a man,
On pain of death, sent forth to succour him:
This is the day, ordained by destiny,
To season his courage with those grievous thoughts,
That, if he breaketh out, Nestor's years on earth
Will make him savor still of this exploit.

Ah, but he shall not live to see those days.

Why, then his Epitaph is lasting praise.

Yet, good my Lord, tis too much willfulness,
To let his blood be spilt, that may be saved.

Exclaim no more; for none of you can tell
Whether a borrowed aid will serve, or no;
Perhaps he is already slain or ta'en.
And dare a Falcon when she's in her flight,
And ever after she'll be haggard like:
Let Edward be delivered by our hands,
And still, in danger, he'll expect the like;
But if himself himself redeem from thence,
He will have vanquished cheerful death and fear,
And ever after dread their force no more
Than if they were but babes or Captive slaves.

O cruel Father! Farewell, Edward, then!

Farewell, sweet Prince, the hope of chivalry!

O, would my life might ransom him from death!

But soft, me thinks I hear

[Retreat sounded.]

The dismal charge of Trumpets' loud retreat.
All are not slain, I hope, that went with him;
Some will return with tidings, good or bad.

[Enter Prince Edward in triumph, bearing in his hands
his chivered Lance, and the King of Boheme, borne
before, wrapped in the Colours. They run and imbrace him.]

O joyful sight! victorious Edward lives!

Welcome, brave Prince!

Welcome, Plantagenet!


[Kneels and kisses his father's hand.]

First having done my duty as beseemed,
Lords, I regreet you all with hearty thanks.
And now, behold, after my winter's toil,
My painful voyage on the boisterous sea
Of wars devouring gulfs and steely rocks,

I bring my fraught unto the wished port,
My Summer's hope, my travels' sweet reward:
And here, with humble duty, I present
This sacrifice, this first fruit of my sword,
Cropped and cut down even at the gate of death,
The king of Boheme, father, whom I slew;
Whose thousands had entrenched me round about,
And lay as thick upon my battered crest,
As on an Anvil, with their ponderous glaves:
Yet marble courage still did underprop
And when my weary arms, with often blows,
Like the continual laboring Wood-man's Axe
That is enjoined to fell a load of Oaks,
Began to faulter, straight I would record
My gifts you gave me, and my zealous vow,
And then new courage made me fresh again,
That, in despite, I carved my passage forth,
And put the multitude to speedy flight.
Lo, thus hath Edward's hand filled your request,
And done, I hope, the duty of a Knight.

Aye, well thou hast deserved a knighthood, Ned!
And, therefore, with thy sword, yet reaking warm

[His Sword borne by a Soldier.]

With blood of those that fought to be thy bane.
Arise, Prince Edward, trusty knight at arms:
This day thou hast confounded me with joy,
And proud thy self fit heir unto a king.

Here is a note, my gracious Lord, of those
That in this conflict of our foes were slain:
Eleven Princes of esteem, Four score Barons,
A hundred and twenty knights, and thirty thousand
Common soldiers; and, of our men, a thousand.

Our God be praised! Now, John of France, I hope,
Thou knowest King Edward for no wantoness,
No love sick cockney, nor his soldiers jades.
But which way is the fearful king escaped?

Towards Poitiers, noble father, and his sons.

Ned, thou and Audley shall pursue them still;
My self and Derby will to Calice straight,
And there be begirt that Haven town with siege.
Now lies it on an upshot; therefore strike,
And wistly follow, whiles the game's on foot.
What Picture's this?

A Pelican, my Lord,
Wounding her bosom with her crooked beak,
That so her nest of young ones may be fed
With drops of blood that issue from her heart;
The motto Sic & vos, 'and so should you'.


ACT IV. SCENE I. Bretagne. Camp of the English.

[Enter Lord Mountford with a Coronet in his hand;
with him the Earl of Salisbury.]

My Lord of Salisbury, since by your aide
Mine enemy Sir Charles of Blois is slain,
And I again am quietly possessed
In Brittain's Dukedom, know that I resolve,
For this kind furtherance of your king and you,
To swear allegiance to his majesty:
In sign whereof receive this Coronet,
Bear it unto him, and, withal, mine oath,
Never to be but Edward's faithful friend.

I take it, Mountfort. Thus, I hope, ere long
The whole Dominions of the Realm of France
Will be surrendered to his conquering hand.

[Exit Mountford.]

Now, if I knew but safely how to pass,
I would at Calice gladly meet his Grace,
Whether I am by letters certified
That he intends to have his host removed.
It shall be so, this policy will serve:--
Ho, whose within? Bring Villiers to me.

[Enter Villiers.]

Villiers, thou knowest, thou art my prisoner,
And that I might for ransom, if I would,
Require of thee a hundred thousand Francs,
Or else retain and keep thee captive still:
But so it is, that for a smaller charge
Thou maist be quit, and if thou wilt thy self.
And this it is: Procure me but a passport
Of Charles, the Duke of Normandy, that I
Without restraint may have recourse to Callis
Through all the Countries where he hath to do;
Which thou maist easily obtain, I think,
By reason I have often heard thee say,
He and thou were students once together:
And then thou shalt be set at liberty.
How saiest thou? wilt thou undertake to do it?

I will, my Lord; but I must speak with him.

Why, so thou shalt; take Horse, and post from hence:
Only before thou goest, swear by thy faith,
That, if thou canst not compass my desire,
Thou wilt return my prisoner back again;
And that shall be sufficient warrant for me.

To that condition I agree, my Lord,
And will unfainedly perform the same.


Farewell, Villiers.--
Thus once i mean to try a French man's faith.


ACT IV. SCENE II. Picardy. The English Camp before

[Enter King Edward and Derby, with Soldiers.]

Since they refuse our proffered league, my Lord,
And will not ope their gates, and let us in,
We will intrench our selves on every side,
That neither vituals nor supply of men
May come to succour this accursed town:
Famine shall combat where our swords are stopped.

[Enter six poor Frenchmen.]

The promised aid, that made them stand aloof,
Is now retired and gone an other way:
It will repent them of their stubborn will.
But what are these poor ragged slaves, my Lord?

Ask what they are; it seems, they come from Callis.

You wretched patterns of despair and woe,
What are you, living men or gliding ghosts,
Crept from your graves to walk upon the earth?

No ghosts, my Lord, but men that breath a life
Far worse than is the quiet sleep of death:
We are distressed poor inhabitants,
That long have been diseased, sick, and lame;
And now, because we are not fit to serve,
The Captain of the town hath thrust us forth,
That so expense of victuals may be saved.

A charitable deed, no doubt, and worthy praise!
But how do you imagine then to speed?
We are your enemies; in such a case
We can no less but put ye to the sword,
Since, when we proffered truce, it was refused.

And if your grace no otherwise vouchsafe,
As welcome death is unto us as life.

Poor silly men, much wronged and more distressed!
Go, Derby, go, and see they be relieved;
Command that victuals be appointed them,
And give to every one five Crowns a piece.

[Exeunt Derby and Frenchmen.]

The Lion scorns to touch the yielding prey,
And Edward's sword must flesh it self in such
As wilful stubbornness hath made perverse.

[Enter Lord Percy.]

Lord Percy! welcome: what's the news in England?

The Queen, my Lord, comes here to your Grace,
And from her highness and the Lord viceregent
I bring this happy tidings of success:
David of Scotland, lately up in arms,
Thinking, belike, he soonest should prevail,
Your highness being absent from the Realm,
Is, by the fruitful service of your peers
And painful travel of the Queen her self,
That, big with child, was every day in arms,
Vanquished, subdued, and taken prisoner.

Thanks, Percy, for thy news, with all my heart!
What was he took him prisoner in the field?

A Esquire, my Lord; John Copland is his name:
Who since, intreated by her Majesty,
Denies to make surrender of his prize
To any but unto your grace alone;
Whereat the Queen is grievously displeased.

Well, then we'll have a Pursiuvant despatched,
To summon Copland hither out of hand,
And with him he shall bring his prisoner king.

The Queen's, my Lord, her self by this at Sea,
And purposeth, as soon as wind will serve,
To land at Callis, and to visit you.

She shall be welcome; and, to wait her coming,
I'll pitch my tent near to the sandy shore.

[Enter a French Captain.]

The Burgesses of Callis, mighty king,
Have by a counsel willingly decreed
To yield the town and Castle to your hands,
Upon condition it will please your grace
To grant them benefit of life and goods.

They will so! Then, belike, they may command,
Dispose, elect, and govern as they list.
No, sirra, tell them, since they did refuse
Our princely clemency at first proclaimed,
They shall not have it now, although they would;
I will accept of nought but fire and sword,
Except, within these two days, six of them,
That are the wealthiest merchants in the town,
Come naked, all but for their linen shirts,
With each a halter hanged about his neck,
And prostrate yield themselves, upon their knees,
To be afflicted, hanged, or what I please;
And so you may inform their masterships.

[Exeunt Edward and Percy.]

Why, this it is to trust a broken staff:
Had we not been persuaded, John our King
Would with his army have relieved the town,
We had not stood upon defiance so:
But now tis past that no man can recall,
And better some do go to wrack them all.


ACT IV. SCENE III. Poitou. Fields near Poitiers.
The French camp; Tent of the Duke of Normandy.

[Enter Charles of Normandy and Villiers.]

I wonder, Villiers, thou shouldest importune me
For one that is our deadly enemy.

Not for his sake, my gracious Lord, so much
Am I become an earnest advocate,
As that thereby my ransom will be quit.

Thy ransom, man? why needest thou talk of that?
Art thou not free? and are not all occasions,
That happen for advantage of our foes,
To be accepted of, and stood upon?

No, good my Lord, except the same be just;
For profit must with honor be comixt,
Or else our actions are but scandalous.
But, letting pass their intricate objections,
Wilt please your highness to subscribe, or no?

Villiers, I will not, nor I cannot do it;
Salisbury shall not have his will so much,
To claim a passport how it pleaseth himself.

Why, then I know the extremity, my Lord;
I must return to prison whence I came.

Return? I hope thou wilt not;
What bird that hath escaped the fowler's gin,
Will not beware how she's ensnared again?
Or, what is he, so senseless and secure,
That, having hardly past a dangerous gul,
Will put him self in peril there again?

Ah, but it is mine oath, my gracious Lord,
Which I in conscience may not violate,
Or else a kingdom should not draw me hence.

Thine oath? why, tat doth bind thee to abide:
Hast thou not sworn obedience to thy Prince?

In all things that uprightly he commands:
But either to persuade or threaten me,
Not to perform the covenant of my word,
Is lawless, and I need not to obey.

Why, is it lawful for a man to kill,
And not, to break a promise with his foe?

To kill, my Lord, when war is once proclaimed,
So that our quarrel be for wrongs received,
No doubt, is lawfully permitted us;
But in an oath we must be well advised,
How we do swear, and, when we once have sworn,
Not to infringe it, though we die therefore:
Therefore, my Lord, as willing I return,
As if I were to fly to paradise.

Stay, my Villiers; thine honorable min
Deserves to be eternally admired.
Thy suit shall be no longer thus deferred:
Give me the paper, I'll subscribe to it;
And, wheretofore I loved thee as Villiers,
Hereafter I'll embrace thee as my self.
Stay, and be still in favour with thy Lord.

I humbly thank you grace; I must dispatch,
And send this passport first unto the Earl,
And then I will attend your highness pleasure.

Do so, Villiers;--and Charles, when he hath need,
Be such his soldiers, howsoever he speed!

[Exit Villiers.]

[Enter King John.]

Come, Charles, and arm thee; Edward is entrapped,
The Prince of Wales is fallen into our hands,
And we have compassed him; he cannot escape.

But will your highness fight to day?

What else, my son? he's scarce eight thousand strong,
And we are threescore thousand at the least.

I have a prophecy, my gracious Lord,
Wherein is written what success is like
To happen us in this outrageous war;
It was delivered me at Cresses field
By one that is an aged Hermit there.
[Reads.] 'When feathered foul shall make thine army tremble,
And flint stones rise and break the battle ray,
Then think on him that doth not now dissemble;
For that shall be the hapless dreadful day:
Yet, in the end, thy foot thou shalt advance
As far in England as thy foe in France.'

By this it seems we shall be fortunate:
For as it is impossible that stones
Should ever rise and break the battle ray,
Or airy foul make men in arms to quake,
So is it like, we shall not be subdued:
Or say this might be true, yet in the end,
Since he doth promise we shall drive him hence
And forage their Country as they have done ours,
By this revenge that loss will seem the less.
But all are frivolous fancies, toys, and dreams:
Once we are sure we have ensnared the son,
Catch we the father after how we can.


ACT IV. SCENE IV. The same. The English Camp.

[Enter Prince Edward, Audley, and others.]

Audley, the arms of death embrace us round,
And comfort have we none, save that to die
We pay sower earnest for a sweeter life.
At Cressey field out Clouds of Warlike smoke
Choked up those French mouths & dissevered them;
But now their multitudes of millions hide,
Masking as twere, the beauteous burning Sun,
Leaving no hope to us, but sullen dark
And eyeless terror of all ending night.

This sudden, mighty, and expedient head
That they have made, fair prince, is wonderful.
Before us in the valley lies the king,
Vantaged with all that heaven and earth can yield;
His party stronger battled than our whole:
His son, the braving Duke of Normandy,
Hath trimmed the Mountain on our right hand up
In shining plate, that now the aspiring hill
Shews like a silver quarry or an orb,
Aloft the which the Banners, bannarets,
And new replenished pendants cuff the air
And beat the winds, that for their gaudiness
Struggles to kiss them: on our left hand lies
Phillip, the younger issue of the king,
Coating the other hill in such array,
That all his guilded upright pikes do seem
Straight trees of gold, the pendants leaves;
And their device of Antique heraldry,
Quartered in colours, seeming sundry fruits,
Makes it the Orchard of the Hesperides:
Behind us too the hill doth bear his height,
For like a half Moon, opening but one way,
It rounds us in; there at our backs are lodged
The fatal Crossbows, and the battle there
Is governed by the rough Chattillion.
Then thus it stands: the valley for our flight
The king binds in; the hills on either hand
Are proudly royalized by his sons;
And on the Hill behind stands certain death
In pay and service with Chattillion.

Death's name is much more mighty than 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;
Then, all the world, and call it but a power,
Easily ta'en up, and quickly thrown away:
But if I stand to count them sand by sand,
The number would confound my memory,
And make a thousand millions of a task,
Which briefly is no more, indeed, than one.
These quarters, squadrons, and these regiments,
Before, behind us, and on either hand,
Are but a power. When we name a man,
His hand, his foot, his head hath several strengths;
And being all but one self instant strength,
Why, all this many, Audley, is but one,
And we can call it all but one man's strength.
He that hath far to go, tells it by miles;
If he should tell the steps, it kills his heart:
The drops are infinite, that make a flood,
And yet, thou knowest, we call it but a Rain.
There is but one France, one king of France,
That France hath no more kings; and that same king
Hath but the puissant legion of one king,
And we have one: then apprehend no odds,
For one to one is fair equality.

[Enter an Herald from King John.]

What tidings, messenger? be plain and brief.

The king of France, my sovereign Lord and master,
Greets by me his foe, the Prince of Wales:
If thou call forth a hundred men of name,
Of Lords, Knights, Squires, and English gentlemen,
And with thy self and those kneel at his feet,
He straight will fold his bloody colours up,
And ransom shall redeem lives forfeited;
If not, this day shall drink more English blood,
Than ere was buried in our British earth.
What is the answer to his proffered mercy?

This heaven, that covers France, contains the mercy
That draws from me submissive orizons;
That such base breath should vanish from my lips,
To urge the plea of mercy to a man,
The Lord forbid! Return, and tell the king,
My tongue is made of steel, and it shall beg
My mercy on his coward burgonet;
Tell him, my colours are as red as his,
My men as bold, our English arms as strong:
Return him my defiance in his face.

I go.


[Enter another Herald.]

What news with thee?

The Duke of Normandy, my Lord & master,
Pitying thy youth is so ingirt with peril,
By me hath sent a nimble jointed jennet,
As swift as ever yet thou didst bestride,
And therewithall he counsels thee to fly;
Else death himself hath sworn that thou shalt die.

Back with the beast unto the beast that sent him!
Tell him I cannot sit a coward's horse;
Bid him to day bestride the jade himself,
For I will stain my horse quite o'er with blood,
And double gild my spurs, but I will catch him;
So tell the carping boy, and get thee gone.

[Exit Herald.]

[Enter another Herald.]

Edward of Wales, Phillip, the second son
To the most mighty christian king of France,
Seeing thy body's living date expired,
All full of charity and christian love,
Commends this book, full fraught with prayers,
To thy fair hand and for thy hour of life
Intreats thee that thou meditate therein,
And arm thy soul for her long journey towards--
Thus have I done his bidding, and return.

Herald of Phillip, greet thy Lord from me:
All good that he can send, I can receive;
But thinkst thou not, the unadvised boy
Hath wronged himself in thus far tendering me?
Happily he cannot pray without the book--
I think him no divine extemporall--,
Then render back this common place of prayer,
To do himself good in adversity;
Beside he knows not my sins' quality,
And therefore knows no prayers for my avail;
Ere night his prayer may be to pray to God,
To put it in my heart to hear his prayer.
So tell the courtly wanton, and be gone.

I go.


How confident their strength and number makes them!--
Now, Audley, sound those silver wings of thine,
And let those milk white messengers of time
Shew thy times learning in this dangerous time.
Thy self art bruis'd and bit with many broils,
And stratagems forepast with iron pens
Are texted in thine honorable face;
Thou art a married man in this distress,
But danger woos me as a blushing maid:
Teach me an answer to this perilous time.

To die is all as common as to live:
The one ince-wise, the other holds in chase;
For, from the instant we begin to live,
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
Follows the body, so we follow death.
If, then, we hunt for death, why do we fear it?
If we fear it, why do we follow it?
If we do fear, how can we shun it?
If we do fear, with fear we do but aide
The thing we fear to seize on us the sooner:
If we fear not, then no resolved proffer
Can overthrow the limit of our fate;
For, whether ripe or rotten, drop we shall,
As we do draw the lottery of our doom.

Ah, good old man, a thousand thousand armors
These words of thine have buckled on my back:
Ah, what an idiot hast thou made of life,
To seek the thing it fears! and how disgraced
The imperial victory of murdering death,
Since all the lives his conquering arrows strike
Seek him, and he not them, to shame his glory!
I will not give a penny for a life,
Nor half a halfpenny to shun grim death,
Since for to live is but to seek to die,
And dying but beginning of new life.
Let come the hour when he that rules it will!
To live or die I hold indifferent.


ACT IV. SCENE V. The same. The French Camp.

[Enter King John and Charles.]

A sudden darkness hath defaced the sky,
The winds are crept into their caves for fear,
The leaves move not, the world is hushed and still,
The birds cease singing, and the wandering brooks
Murmur no wonted greeting to their shores;
Silence attends some wonder and expecteth
That heaven should pronounce some prophesy:
Where, or from whom, proceeds this silence, Charles?

Our men, with open mouths and staring eyes,
Look on each other, as they did attend
Each other's words, and yet no creature speaks;
A tongue-tied fear hath made a midnight hour,
And speeches sleep through all the waking regions.

But now the pompous Sun, in all his pride,
Looked through his golden coach upon the world,
And, on a sudden, hath he hid himself,
That now the under earth is as a grave,
Dark, deadly, silent, and uncomfortable.

[A clamor of ravens.]

Hark, what a deadly outery do I hear?

Here comes my brother Phillip.

All dismayed:

[Enter Phillip.]

What fearful words are those thy looks presage?

A flight, a flight!

Coward, what flight? thou liest, there needs no flight.

A flight.

Awake thy craven powers, and tell on
The substance of that very fear in deed,
Which is so ghastly printed in thy face:
What is the matter?

A flight of ugly ravens
Do croak and hover o'er our soldiers' heads,
And keep in triangles and cornered squares,
Right as our forces are embattled;
With their approach there came this sudden fog,
Which now hath hid the airy floor of heaven
And made at noon a night unnatural
Upon the quaking and dismayed world:
In brief, our soldiers have let fall their arms,
And stand like metamorphosed images,
Bloodless and pale, one gazing on another.

Aye, now I call to mind the prophesy,
But I must give no entrance to a fear.--
Return, and hearten up these yielding souls:
Tell them, the ravens, seeing them in arms,
So many fair against a famished few,
Come but to dine upon their handy work
And prey upon the carrion that they kill:
For when we see a horse laid down to die,
Although he be not dead, the ravenous birds
Sit watching the departure of his life;
Even so these ravens for the carcasses
Of those poor English, that are marked to die,
Hover about, and, if they cry to us,
Tis but for meat that we must kill for them.
Away, and comfort up my soldiers,
And sound the trumpets, and at once dispatch
This little business of a silly fraud.

[Exit Phillip.]

[Another noise. Salisbury brought in by a French Captain.]

Behold, my liege, this knight and forty mo',
Of whom the better part are slain and fled,
With all endeavor sought to break our ranks,
And make their way to the encompassed prince:
Dispose of him as please your majesty.

Go, & the next bough, soldier, that thou seest,
Disgrace it with his body presently;
For I do hold a tree in France too good
To be the gallows of an English thief.

My Lord of Normandy, I have your pass
And warrant for my safety through this land.

Villiers procured it for thee, did he not?

He did.

And it is current; thou shalt freely pass.

Aye, freely to the gallows to be hanged,
Without denial or impediment.
Away with him!

I hope your highness will not so disgrace me,
And dash the virtue of my seal at arms:
He hath my never broken name to shew,
Charactered with this princely hand of mine:
And rather let me leave to be a prince
Than break the stable verdict of a prince:
I do beseech you, let him pass in quiet.

Thou and thy word lie both in my command;
What canst thou promise that I cannot break?
Which of these twain is greater infamy,
To disobey thy father or thy self?
Thy word, nor no mans, may exceed his power;
Nor that same man doth never break his word,
That keeps it to the utmost of his power.
The breach of faith dwells in the soul's consent:
Which if thy self without consent do break,
Thou art not charged with the breach of faith.
Go, hang him: for thy license lies in me,
And my constraint stands the excuse for thee.

What, am I not a soldier in my word?
Then, arms, adieu, and let them fight that list!
Shall I not give my girdle from my waste,
But with a gardion I shall be controlled,
To say I may not give my things away?
Upon my soul, had Edward, prince of Wales,
Engaged his word, writ down his noble hand
For all your knights to pass his father's land,
The royal king, to grace his warlike son,
Would not alone safe conduct give to them,
But with all bounty feasted them and theirs.

Dwelst thou on precedents? Then be it so!
Say, Englishman, of what degree thou art.

An Earl in England, though a prisoner here,
And those that know me, call me Salisbury.

Then, Salisbury, say whether thou art bound.

To Callice, where my liege, king Edward, is.

To Callice, Salisbury? Then, to Callice pack,
And bid the king prepare a noble grave,
To put his princely son, black Edward, in.
And as thou travelst westward from this place,
Some two leagues hence there is a lofty hill,
Whose top seems topless, for the embracing sky
Doth hide his high head in her azure bosom;
Upon whose tall top when thy foot attains,
Look back upon the humble vale beneath--
Humble of late, but now made proud with arms--
And thence behold the wretched prince of Wales,
Hooped with a bond of iron round about.
After which sight, to Callice spur amain,
And say, the prince was smothered and not slain:
And tell the king this is not all his ill;
For I will greet him, ere he thinks I will.
Away, be gone; the smoke but of our shot
Will choke our foes, though bullets hit them not.


ACT IV. SCENE VI. The same. A Part of the Field
of Battle.

[Alarum. Enter prince Edward and Artois.]

How fares your grace? are you not shot, my Lord?

No, dear Artois; but choked with dust and smoke,
And stepped aside for breath and fresher air.

Breath, then, and to it again: the amazed French
Are quite distract with gazing on the crows;
And, were our quivers full of shafts again,
Your grace should see a glorious day of this:--
O, for more arrows, Lord; that's our want.

Courage, Artois! a fig for feathered shafts,
When feathered fowls do bandy on our side!
What need we fight, and sweat, and keep a coil,
When railing crows outscold our adversaries?
Up, up, Artois! the ground it self is armed
With Fire containing flint; command our bows
To hurl away their pretty colored Ew,
And to it with stones: away, Artois, away!
My soul doth prophecy we win the day.


ACT IV. SCENE VII. The same. Another Part of
the Field of Battle.

[Alarum. Enter King John.]

Our multitudes are in themselves confounded,
Dismayed, and distraught; swift starting fear
Hath buzzed a cold dismay through all our army,
And every petty disadvantage prompts
The fear possessed abject soul to fly.
My self, whose spirit is steel to their dull lead,
What with recalling of the prophecy,
And that our native stones from English arms
Rebel against us, find myself attainted
With strong surprise of weak and yielding fear.

[Enter Charles.]

Fly, father, fly! the French do kill the French,
Some that would stand let drive at some that fly;
Our drums strike nothing but discouragement,
Our trumpets sound dishonor and retire;
The spirit of fear, that feareth nought but death,
Cowardly works confusion on it self.

[Enter Phillip.]

Pluck out your eyes, and see not this day's shame!
An arm hath beat an army; one poor David
Hath with a stone foiled twenty stout Goliahs;
Some twenty naked starvelings with small flints,
Hath driven back a puissant host of men,
Arrayed and fenced in all accomplements.

Mordieu, they quait at us, and kill us up;
No less than forty thousand wicked elders
Have forty lean slaves this day stoned to death.

O, that I were some other countryman!
This day hath set derision on the French,
And all the world will blurt and scorn at us.

What, is there no hope left?

No hope, but death, to bury up our shame.

Make up once more with me; the twentieth part
Of those that live, are men inow to quail
The feeble handful on the adverse part.

Then charge again: if heaven be not opposed,
We cannot lose the day.

On, away!


ACT IV. SCENE VIII. The same. Another Part of
the Field of Battle.

[Enter Audley, wounded, & rescued by two squires.]

How fares my Lord?

Even as a man may do,
That dines at such a bloody feast as this.

I hope, my Lord, that is no mortal scar.

No matter, if it be; the count is cast,
And, in the worst, ends but a mortal man.
Good friends, convey me to the princely Edward,
That in the crimson bravery of my blood
I may become him with saluting him.
I'll smile, and tell him, that this open scar
Doth end the harvest of his Audley's war.


ACT IV. SCENE IX. The same. The English Camp.

[Enter prince Edward, King John, Charles, and all,
with Ensigns spread.]

Now, John in France, & lately John of France,
Thy bloody Ensigns are my captive colours;
And you, high vaunting Charles of Normandy,
That once to day sent me a horse to fly,
Are now the subjects of my clemency.
Fie, Lords, is it not a shame that English boys,
Whose early days are yet not worth a beard,
Should in the bosom of your kingdom thus,
One against twenty, beat you up together?

Thy fortune, not thy force, hath conquered us.

An argument that heaven aides the right.

[Enter Artois with Phillip.]

See, see, Artois doth bring with him along
The late good counsel giver to my soul.
Welcome, Artois; and welcome, Phillip, too:
Who now of you or I have need to pray?
Now is the proverb verified in you,
'Too bright a morning breeds a louring day.'

[Sound Trumpets. Enter Audley.]

But say, what grim discouragement comes here!
Alas, what thousand armed men of France
Have writ that note of death in Audley's face?
Speak, thou that wooest death with thy careless smile,
And lookst so merrily upon thy grave,
As if thou were enamored on thine end:
What hungry sword hath so bereaved thy face,
And lopped a true friend from my loving soul?

O Prince, thy sweet bemoaning speech to me
Is as a mournful knell to one dead sick.

Dear Audley, if my tongue ring out thy end,
My arms shall be thy grave: what may I do
To win thy life, or to revenge thy death?
If thou wilt drink the blood of captive kings,
Or that it were restorative, command
A Health of kings' blood, and I'll drink to thee;
If honor may dispense for thee with death,
The never dying honor of this day
Share wholly, Audley, to thy self, and live.

Victorious Prince,--that thou art so, behold
A Caesar's fame in king's captivity--
If I could hold him death but at a bay,
Till I did see my liege thy royal father,
My soul should yield this Castle of my flesh,
This mangled tribute, with all willingness,
To darkness, consummation, dust, and Worms.

Cheerily, bold man, thy soul is all too proud
To yield her City for one little breach;
Should be divorced from her earthly spouse
By the soft temper of a French man's sword?
Lo, to repair thy life, I give to thee
Three thousand Marks a year in English land.

I take thy gift, to pay the debts I owe:
These two poor Esquires redeemed me from the French
With lusty & dear hazard of their lives:
What thou hast given me, I give to them;
And, as thou lovest me, prince, lay thy consent
To this bequeath in my last testament.

Renowned Audley, live, and have from me
This gift twice doubled to these Esquires and thee:
But live or die, what thou hast given away
To these and theirs shall lasting freedom stay.
Come, gentlemen, I will see my friend bestowed
With in an easy Litter; then we'll march
Proudly toward Callis, with triumphant pace,
Unto my royal father, and there bring
The tribute of my wars, fair France his king.


ACT V. SCENE I. Picardy. The English Camp before

[Enter King Edward, Queen Phillip, Derby, soldiers.]

No more, Queen Phillip, pacify your self;
Copland, except he can excuse his fault,
Shall find displeasure written in our looks.
And now unto this proud resisting town!
Soldiers, assault: I will no longer stay,
To be deluded by their false delays;
Put all to sword, and make the spoil your own.

[Enter six Citizens in their Shirts, bare foot, with
halters about their necks.]

Mercy, king Edward, mercy, gracious Lord!

Contemptuous villains, call ye now for truce?
Mine ears are stopped against your bootless cries:--
Sound, drums alarum; draw threatening swords!

Ah, noble Prince, take pity on this town,
And hear us, mighty king:
We claim the promise that your highness made;
The two days' respite is not yet expired,
And we are come with willingness to bear
What torturing death or punishment you please,
So that the trembling multitude be saved.

My promise? Well, I do confess as much:
But I do require the chiefest Citizens
And men of most account that should submit;
You, peradventure, are but servile grooms,
Or some felonious robbers on the Sea,
Whom, apprehended, law would execute,
Albeit severity lay dead in us:
No, no, ye cannot overreach us thus.

The Sun, dread Lord, that in the western fall
Beholds us now low brought through misery,
Did in the Orient purple of the morn
Salute our coming forth, when we were known;
Or may our portion be with damned fiends.

If it be so, then let our covenant stand:
We take possession of the town in peace,
But, for your selves, look you for no remorse;
But, as imperial justice hath decreed,
Your bodies shall be dragged about these walls,
And after feel the stroke of quartering steel:
This is your doom;--go, soldiers, see it done.

Ah, be more mild unto these yielding men!
It is a glorious thing to stablish peace,
And kings approach the nearest unto God
By giving life and safety unto men:
As thou intendest to be king of France,
So let her people live to call thee king;
For what the sword cuts down or fire hath spoiled,
Is held in reputation none of ours.

Although experience teach us this is true,
That peaceful quietness brings most delight,
When most of all abuses are controlled;
Yet, insomuch it shall be known that we
As well can master our affections
As conquer other by the dint of sword,
Phillip, prevail; we yield to thy request:
These men shall live to boast of clemency,
And, tyranny, strike terror to thy self.

Long live your highness! happy be your reign!

Go, get you hence, return unto the town,
And if this kindness hath deserved your love,
Learn then to reverence Edward as your king.--

[Exeunt Citizens.]

Now, might we hear of our affairs abroad,
We would, till gloomy Winter were o'er spent,
Dispose our men in garrison a while.
But who comes here?

[Enter Copland and King David.]

Copland, my Lord, and David, King of Scots.

Is this the proud presumptuous Esquire of the North,
That would not yield his prisoner to my Queen?

I am, my liege, a Northern Esquire indeed,
But neither proud nor insolent, I trust.

What moved thee, then, to be so obstinate
To contradict our royal Queen's desire?

No wilful disobedience, mighty Lord,
But my desert and public law at arms:
I took the king my self in single fight,
And, like a soldiers, would be loath to lose
The least pre-eminence that I had won.
And Copland straight upon your highness' charge
Is come to France, and with a lowly mind
Doth vale the bonnet of his victory:
Receive, dread Lord, the custom of my fraught,
The wealthy tribute of my laboring hands,
Which should long since have been surrendered up,
Had but your gracious self been there in place.

But, Copland, thou didst scorn the king's command,
Neglecting our commission in his name.

His name I reverence, but his person more;
His name shall keep me in allegiance still,
But to his person I will bend my knee.

I pray thee, Phillip, let displeasure pass;
This man doth please me, and I like his words:
For what is he that will attempt great deeds,
And lose the glory that ensues the same?
All rivers have recourse unto the Sea,
And Copland's faith relation to his king.
Kneel, therefore, down: now rise, king Edward's knight;
And, to maintain thy state, I freely give
Five hundred marks a year to thee and thine.

[Enter Salisbury.]

Welcome, Lord Salisbury: what news from Brittain?

This, mighty king: the Country we have won,
And John de Mountford, regent of that place,
Presents your highness with this Coronet,
Protesting true allegiance to your Grace.

We thank thee for thy service, valiant Earl;
Challenge our favour, for we owe it thee.

But now, my Lord, as this is joyful news,
So must my voice be tragical again,
And I must sing of doleful accidents.

What, have our men the overthrow at Poitiers?
Or is our son beset with too much odds?

He was, my Lord: and as my worthless self
With forty other serviceable knights,
Under safe conduct of the Dauphin's seal,
Did travail that way, finding him distressed,
A troop of Lances met us on the way,
Surprised, and brought us prisoners to the king,
Who, proud of this, and eager of revenge,
Commanded straight to cut off all our heads:
And surely we had died, but that the Duke,
More full of honor than his angry sire,
Procured our quick deliverance from thence;
But, ere we went, 'Salute your king', quoth he,
'Bid him provide a funeral for his son:
To day our sword shall cut his thread of life;
And, sooner than he thinks, we'll be with him,
To quittance those displeasures he hath done.'
This said, we past, not daring to reply;
Our hearts were dead, our looks diffused and wan.
Wandering, at last we climed unto a hill,
>From whence, although our grief were much before,
Yet now to see the occasion with our eyes
Did thrice so much increase our heaviness:
For there, my Lord, oh, there we did descry
Down in a valley how both armies lay.
The French had cast their trenches like a ring,
And every Barricado's open front
Was thick embossed with brazen ordinance;
Here stood a battaile of ten thousand horse,
There twice as many pikes in quadrant wise,
Here Crossbows, and deadly wounding darts:
And in the midst, like to a slender point
Within the compass of the horizon,
As twere a rising bubble in the sea,
A Hasle wand amidst a wood of Pines,
Or as a bear fast chained unto a stake,
Stood famous Edward, still expecting when
Those dogs of France would fasten on his flesh.
Anon the death procuring knell begins:
Off go the Cannons, that with trembling noise
Did shake the very Mountain where they stood;
Then sound the Trumpets' clangor in the air,
The battles join: and, when we could no more
Discern the difference twixt the friend and foe,
So intricate the dark confusion was,
Away we turned our watery eyes with sighs,
As black as powder fuming into smoke.
And thus, I fear, unhappy have I told
The most untimely tale of Edward's fall.

Ah me, is this my welcome into France?
Is this the comfort that I looked to have,
When I should meet with my beloved son?
Sweet Ned, I would thy mother in the sea
Had been prevented of this mortal grief!

Content thee, Phillip; tis not tears will serve
To call him back, if he be taken hence:
Comfort thy self, as I do, gentle Queen,
With hope of sharp, unheard of, dire revenge.--
He bids me to provide his funeral,
And so I will; but all the Peers in France
Shall mourners be, and weep out bloody tears,
Until their empty veins be dry and sere:
The pillars of his hearse shall be his bones;
The mould that covers him, their City ashes;
His knell, the groaning cries of dying men;
And, in the stead of tapers on his tomb,
An hundred fifty towers shall burning blaze,
While we bewail our valiant son's decease.

[After a flourish, sounded within, enter an herald.]

Rejoice, my Lord; ascend the imperial throne!
The mighty and redoubted prince of Wales,
Great servitor to bloody Mars in arms,
The French man's terror, and his country's fame,
Triumphant rideth like a Roman peer,
And, lowly at his stirrup, comes afoot
King John of France, together with his son,
In captive bonds; whose diadem he brings
To crown thee with, and to proclaim thee king.

Away with mourning, Phillip, wipe thine eyes;--
Sound, Trumpets, welcome in Plantagenet!

[Enter Prince Edward, king John, Phillip, Audley, Artois.]

As things long lost, when they are found again,
So doth my son rejoice his father's heart,
For whom even now my soul was much perplexed.

Be this a token to express my joy,

[Kisses him.]

For inward passion will not let me speak.

My gracious father, here receive the gift.

[Presenting him with King John's crown.]

This wreath of conquest and reward of war,
Got with as mickle peril of our lives,
As ere was thing of price before this day;
Install your highness in your proper right:
And, herewithall, I render to your hands
These prisoners, chief occasion of our strife.

So, John of France, I see you keep your word:
You promised to be sooner with our self
Than we did think for, and tis so in deed:
But, had you done at first as now you do,
How many civil towns had stood untouched,
That now are turned to ragged heaps of stones!
How many people's lives mightst thou have saved,
That are untimely sunk into their graves!

Edward, recount not things irrevocable;
Tell me what ransom thou requirest to have.

Thy ransom, John, hereafter shall be known:
But first to England thou must cross the seas,
To see what entertainment it affords;
How ere it falls, it cannot be so bad,
As ours hath been since we arrived in France.

Accursed man! of this I was foretold,
But did misconster what the prophet told.

Now, father, this petition Edward makes
To thee, whose grace hath been his strongest shield,
That, as thy pleasure chose me for the man
To be the instrument to shew thy power,
So thou wilt grant that many princes more,
Bred and brought up within that little Isle,
May still be famous for like victories!
And, for my part, the bloody scars I bear,
And weary nights that I have watched in field,
The dangerous conflicts I have often had,
The fearful menaces were proffered me,
The heat and cold and what else might displease:
I wish were now redoubled twenty fold,
So that hereafter ages, when they read
The painful traffic of my tender youth,
Might thereby be inflamed with such resolve,
As not the territories of France alone,
But likewise Spain, Turkey, and what countries else
That justly would provoke fair England's ire,
Might, at their presence, tremble and retire.

Here, English Lords, we do proclaim a rest,
An intercession of our painful arms:
Sheath up your swords, refresh your weary limbs,
Peruse your spoils; and, after we have breathed
A day or two within this haven town,
God willing, then for England we'll be shipped;
Where, in a happy hour, I trust, we shall
Arrive, three kings, two princes, and a queen.


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