WORKING DRAFT 1/26/17
The Troublesome Raigne and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England
By Christopher Marlowe
Adapted by Stephen M. Eckert and Keaton Shapiro
Lancaster/Bishop of Coventry/Matrevis……………...….……………...Diyar Eyuboglu
Spencer/Bishop of Canterbury………..……………………..…………………….Petr Favazza
Enter GAVESTON reading a letter that was brought him from the King
‘My father is deceased; come, Gaveston,
And share the kingdom with thy dearest friend.’
Ah, words that make me surfeit with delight!
What greater bliss can hap to Gaveston,
Than live and be the favorite of a king?
Farewell, base stooping to the lordly peers;
My knee shall bow to none but to the King.
As for the multitude, that are but sparks
Raked up in the embers of their poverty,
These are not men for me;
I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,
Musicians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant King which way I please.
Music and poetry is his delight;
Therefore I’ll have Italian masques by night,
Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows;
And in the day when he shall walk abroad,
Like sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad.
My men like satyrs grazing on the lawns
Shall with their goat-feet dance an antic hay;
Sometime a lovely boy in Dian’s shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,
And in his sportful hands an olive tree
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring;
Such things as these please his majesty.
Enter EDWARD the King, LANCASTER, MORTIMER, Edmund Earl of KENT, Guy Earl of Warwick
/Will you not grant me this? [Aside] In spite of them
I’ll have my will, and these two noblemen
That cross me thus shall know I am displeased.
If you love us, my lord, hate Gaveston.
These nobles here, this earl, and I myself
Were sworn to your father at his death,
That he should ne’er return into the realm;
And know, my lord, ere I will break my oath,
This sword of mine that should offend your foes,
Shall sleep within the scabbard at thy need,
And underneath thy banners march who will,
For Mortimer will hang his armor up.
Well Mortimer, I’ll make thee rue these words.
Beseems it thee to contradict thy King?
Frownst thou thereat, aspiring Lancaster?
My sword shall plane the furrows of thy brows
And hew these knees that now are grown so stiff.
I will have Gaveston; and you shall know
What danger ‘tis to stand against your King.
My lord, why do you thus incense your peers
That naturally would love and honor you,
But for that base and obscure Gaveston?
Four earldoms have I besides Lancaster.
These will I sell to give my soldiers pay,
Ere Gaveston shall stay within the realm.
Therefore if he be come, expel him straight.
Barons and earls, your pride hath made me mute.
But now I’ll speak, and to the proof I hope:
Dare you brave the King unto his face?
Brother, revenge it; and let these their heads
Preach upon poles for trespass of their tongues.
O’ our heads!
Ay, yours; and therefore I would wish you grant.
Bridle thy anger, gentle Mortimer.
I cannot, nor I will not; I must speak.
Cousin, our hands I hope shall fence our heads,
And strike off his that makes you threaten us.
Come then, let us leave the brainsick King,
Welshry hath man enough to save our heads.
All Warwickshire will love him for my sake.
And northward Gaveston hath many friends.
Adieu my lord; and either change your mind,
Or look to see the throne where you should sit
To float in blood, and at thy wanton head
The glozing head of thy base minion thrown.
Exeunt NOBLES (except KENT)
I cannot brook these haughty menaces:
Am I a king and must be overruled?
Brother, display my ensigns in the field;
I’ll bandy with the barons and the earls,
And either die or live with Gaveston.
Well done, Ned.
What, Gaveston! Welcome! Kiss not my hand;
Embrace me, Gaveston as I do thee!
Why shouldst thou kneel; knowest thou not who I am?
Thy friend, thy self, another Gaveston!
Not Hylas was more mourned of Hercules
Than thou hast been of me since thy exile.
And since I went from hence, no soul in hell
Hath felt more torment than poor Gaveston.
I know it. [To KENT] Brother, welcome home my friend.
[To GAVESTON] Now let the treacherous Mortimer conspire.
And that high-minded Earl of Lancaster.
I have my wish, in that I joy thy sight,
And sooner shall the sea o’erwhelm my land
Than bear the ship that shall transport thee hence.
I here create thee Lord High Chamberlain,
Chief Secretary to the state and me,
Earl of Cornwall, King and Lord of Man.
My lord, these titles far exceed my worth.
Brother, the least of these may well suffice
For one of greater birth than Gaveston/
[To GAVESTON] Thy worth, sweet friend, is far above my gifts,
Therefore to equal it, receive my heart.
If for these dignities thou be envied,
I’ll give thee more, for but to honor thee
Is Edward pleased with kingly regiment.
Fear’st thou thy person? Thou shalt have a guard.
Wants thou gold? Go to my treasury.
Wouldst thou be loved and feared? Receive my seal,
Save or condemn, and in our name command
What so thy mind affects or fancy likes.
It shall suffice me to enjoy your love,
Which whiles I have, I think myself as great
As Caesar riding in the Roman street,
With captive kings at his triumphant car.
Enter the BISHOP OF COVENTRY
BISHOP OF COVENTRY
But is that wicked Gaveston returned?
Ay, priest, and lives to be revenged on thee
That wert the only cause of his exile.
‘Tis true, and but for reverence of these robes
Thou shouldst not plod one foot beyond this place.
BISHOP OF COVENTRY
I did no more than I was bound to do.
Saving your reverence, you must pardon me.
Throw off his golden mitre, rend his stole,
And in the channel christen him anew.
[They both assault COVENTRY]
Ah brother, lay not violent hands on him,
For he’ll complain unto the See of Rome.
Let him complain unto the See of Hell;
I’ll be revenged on him for my exile.
No, spare his life, but seize upon his goods.
Be thou lord bishop, and receive his rents.
And make him serve thee as your chaplain.
I give him thee, here, use him as thou wilt.
He shall to prison, and there die in bolts.
Ay, to the tower, the Fleet, or where thou wilt.
BISHOP OF COVENTRY
For this offence be thou accurst of God.
We’ll convey this priest unto the Tower.
But in the meantime Gaveston, away,
And take possession of his house and goods.
Come, follow me, and thou shalt have my guard
To see it done and bring thee safe again.
What should a priest do with so fair a house?
A prison may beseem his holiness.
Enter MORTIMER, WARWICK, and LANCASTER
‘Tis true, the Bishop is in the Tower
And goods and body given to Gaveston.
What, will they tyrannize upon the Church?
Ah, wicked King! Accursed Gaveston!
This ground which is corrupted with their steps
Shall be their timeless sepulchre, or mine.
Unless his breast be sword-proof he shall die.
That villain Gaveston is made an earl!
Ay, and besides, Lord Chamberlain of the realm,
And Secretary too, and Lord of Man!
We may not, nor we will not suffer this.
Doth no man take exception to the slave?
All stomach him, but none dare speak a word.
Ah, that bewrays their baseness, Lancaster.
Were all the earls and barons of my mind,
We’ll hale him from the bosom of the King,
And at the court gate hang the peasant up,
Who, swoll’n with venom of ambitious pride,
Will be the ruin of the realm and us.
Enter BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Here comes my lord of Canterbury’s grace.
My lord, you will take arms against the King?
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
What need I? God himself is up in arms
When violence is offered to the Church.
Then will you join with us that be his peers
To banish or behead that Gaveston?
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
What else, my lords? For it concerns me near;
The bishopric of Coventry is his.
But yet lift not your swords against the King.
No, but we’ll lift Gaveston from hence.
And war must be the means, or he’ll stay still.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My lords, to ease all this but hear me speak.
We and the rest that are his councillors
Will meet and with a general consent
Confirm his banishment with our hands and seals.
What we confirm the King will frustrate.
Then may we lawfully revolt from him.
Come then, let’s away.
Exeunt all except MORTIMER, Enter ISABELLA (the Queen)
Madam, whither walks your majesty so fast?
To live in grief and baleful discontent;
For now my lord the King regards me not,
But dotes upon the love of Gaveston.
He claps his cheeks and hangs about his neck,
Smiles in his face and whispers in his ears;
And when I come he frowns, as if to say,
‘Go whither thou wilt, seeing I have Gaveston.’
Is it not strange that he is thus bewitched?
Madam, return unto the court again.
That sly inveigling Frenchman we’ll exile,
Or lose our lives; and yet, ere that day come,
The King shall lose his crown, for we have power
And courage too, to be revenged at full.
Then let him stay; for rather than my lord
Shall be opposed by civil mutinies,
I will endure a melancholy life,
And let him frolic with his minion.
Farewell, sweet Mortimer; and for my sake.
Forbear to levy arms against the King.
Ay, if words will serve; if not, I must.
Enter NOBLES [LANCASTER, WARWICK, MORTIMER, BISHOP OF CANTERBURY] EDWARD, GAVESTON, and KENT
What, are you moved that Gaveston sits here?
It is our pleasure; we will have it so.
Your grace doth well to place him by your side,
For nowhere else the new Earl is so safe.
What man of noble birth can brook this sight?
See what a scornful look the peasant casts.
Can kingly lions fawn on creeping ants?
[The NOBLES spit on GAVESTON]
Is this the duty that you owe your king?
We know our duties; let him know his peers.
[The NOBLES seize GAVESTON]
Whither will you bear him? Stay or ye shall die.
We are no traitors, therefore threaten not.
No, threaten not my lord, but pay them home.
Were I a king/
Thou villain, wherefore talks thou of a king.
That hardly art a gentleman by birth?
Were he a peasant, being my minion,
I’ll make the proudest of you stoop to him.
My lord, you may not thus disparage us.
Away, I say, with hateful Gaveston.
Go with him, Earl of Kent, you favor him.
Exeunt GAVESTON and KENT
Nay, then lay violent hands upon your King.
Here, Mortimer, sit thou in Edward’s throne;
Warwick and Lancaster, wear you my crown.
Was ever king thus overruled as I?
Learn then to rule us better and the realm.
Anger and wrathful fury stops my speech.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Why are you moved? Be patient, my lord.
And see what we your councillors have done.
Subscribe as we have done to his exile.
[He presents the document of GAVESTON’s exile to EDWARD]
Meet you for this, proud overdaring peers?
Ere my sweet Gaveston shall part from me,
This isle shall fleet upon the ocean
And wander to the unfrequented Inde.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
You know that I am legate to the Pope;
On your allegiance to the See of Rome,
Subscribe as we have done to his exile.
Curse him if he refuse, and then may we
Depose him and elect another king.
Ay, there it goes, but yet I will not yield.
Curse me. Depose me. Do the worst you can.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Remember how the Bishop was abused;
Either banish him that was the cause thereof,
Or I will presently discharge these lords
Of duty and allegiance due to thee.
It boots me not to threat; I must speak fair,
The legate of the Pope will be obeyed.
My lord, you shall be Chancellor of the realm;
Thou, Lancaster, High Admiral of our fleet.
Young Mortimer shall be earl,
And you, Lord Warwick, President of the North,
And also of Wales. If this content you not,
Make several kingdoms of this monarchy,
And share it equally amongst you all,
So I may have some nook or corner left
To frolic with my dearest Gaveston.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Nothing shall alter us; we are resolved.
Come, come subscribe.
Why should you love him whom the world hates so?
Because he loves me more than all the world.
The King is love-sick for his minion.
You that are princely born should shake him off.
For shame subscribe, and let the lown depart.
Urge him, my lord!
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Are you content to banish him the realm?
I see I must, and therefore am content;
Instead of ink, I’ll write it with my tears.
[He signs the document]
‘Tis done, and now accursed hand fall off.
I’ll see him presently dispatched away.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Now is my heart at ease.
And so is mine.
This will be good news to the common sort.
Be it or no, he shall not linger here.
Exeunt NOBLES and THE BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
How fast they run to banish him I love!
They would not stir, were it to do me good.
Why should a king be subject to a priest?
Proud Rome! that hatchest such imperial grooms,
For these thy superstitious taper−lights,
Wherewith thy antichristian churches blaze,
I'll fire thy crazed buildings, and enforce
The papal towers to kiss the lowly ground!
With slaughtered priests make Tiber's channel swell,
And banks rais'd higher with their sepulchres!
As for the peers, that back the clergy thus,
If I be king, not one of them shall live.
My lord, I hear it whispered everywhere,
That I am banish'd, and must fly the land.
'Tis true, sweet Gaveston. O! were it false!
The legate of the Pope will have it so,
And thou must hence, or I shall be depos'd.
But I will reign to be reveng'd of them;
And therefore, sweet friend, take it patiently.
Is all my hope turned to this hell of grief?
Rend not my heart with thy too−piercing words:
Thou from this land, I from myself am banish'd.
To go from hence grieves not poor Gaveston;
But to forsake you, in whose gracious looks
The blessedness of Gaveston remains,
For nowhere else seeks he felicity.
Thou must depart.
Live where thou wilt, I'll send thee gold enough;
Be governor of Ireland in my stead,
And there abide till fortune call thee home.
'Tis something to be pitied of a king.
Thou shalt not hence. I'll hide thee, Gaveston.
I shall be found, and then 'twill grieve me more.
Then come, sweet friend, I'll bear thee on thy way.
The peers will frown.
I pass not for their anger. Come, let's go;
O that we might as well return as go.
Enter KENT and Queen ISABELLA
Whither goes my lord?
Fawn not on me, French strumpet; get thee gone.
On whom but on my husband should I fawn?
On Mortimer, with whom, ungentle queen-
I say no more; judge you the rest my lord.
In saying this, thou wrongest me, Gaveston
Is’t not enough that thou corrupts my lord,
And art a bawd to his affections,
But thou must call mine honor thus in question?
I mean not so; your grace must pardon me.
Thou art too familiar with that Mortimer,
And by thy means is Gaveston exil'd;
But I would wish thee reconcile the lords,
Or thou shalt ne'er be reconcil'd to me.
Your highness knows it lies not in my power.
Away then! touch me not. Come, Gaveston.
Wherein, my lord, have I deserv'd these words?
Witness the tears that Isabella sheds,
Witness this heart, that, sighing for thee, breaks,
How dear my lord is to poor Isabel.
And witness Heaven how dear thou art to me!
There weep; for till my Gaveston be repeal'd,
Assure thyself thou com'st not in my sight.
Exeunt EDWARD and GAVESTON
O miserable and distressed queen!
Would, when I left sweet France and was embark'd,
That charming Circe, walking on the waves,
Had changed my shape, or at the marriage-day
The cup of Hymen had been full of poison,
Or with those arms that twin'd about my neck
I had been stifled, and not liv'd to see
The king my lord thus to abandon me!
Like frantic Juno will I fill the earth
With ghastly murmur of my sighs and cries;
But that will more exasperate his wrath;
I must entreat him, I must speak him fair,
And be a means to call home Gaveston.
And yet he'll ever doat on Gaveston;
And so am I forever miserable.
Enter LANCASTER, WARWICK, MORTIMER
Look where the sister of the King of France
Sits wringing of her hands, and beats her breast!
The king, I fear, hath ill-entreated her.
I know 'tis 'long of Gaveston she weeps.
Why? He is gone.
Madam, how fares your grace?
Ah, Mortimer! Now breaks the king's hate forth,
And he confesseth that he loves me not.
Cry quittance, madam, then; and love not him.
Fear ye not, madam; now his minion's gone,
His wanton humour will be quickly left.
O never, Lancaster! I am enjoined
To sue upon you all for his repeal;
This wills my lord, and this must I perform,
Or else be banish'd from his highness' presence.
But, madam, would you have us call him home?
Ay, Mortimer, for till he be restor'd,
The angry king hath banish'd me the court;
And, therefore, as thou lov'st and tend'rest me,
Be thou my advocate unto these peers.
What! would you have me plead for Gaveston?
We are resolv’d, my lord. Dissuade the queen.
O Lancaster! let him dissuade the King,
For 'tis against my will he should return.
Then speak not for him, let the peasant go.
'Tis for myself I speak, and not for him.
ISABELLA whispers in MORTIMER’s ear then kneels before him
Well, of necessity it must be so.
My lords, that I abhor base Gaveston,
I hope your honours make no question,
And therefore, though I plead for his repeal,
'Tis not for his sake, but for our avail;
Nay for the realm's behoof, and for the king's.
Fie, Mortimer, dishonour not thyself!
Can this be true, 'twas good to banish him?
And is this true, to call him home again?
Such reasons make white black, and dark night day.
Do you not wish that Gaveston were dead?
I would he were!
Why, then, my lord, give me but leave to speak.
This which I urge is of a burning zeal
To mend the king, and do our country good.
Know you not Gaveston hath store of gold,
Which may in Ireland purchase him such friends
As he will front the mightiest of us all?
And whereas he shall live and be belov'd,
'Tis hard for us to work his overthrow.
Mark you but that, my lord of Lancaster.
But were he here, detested as he is,
How easily might some base slave be suborn'd
To greet his lordship with a poniard,
And none so much as blame the murderer,
But rather praise him for that brave attempt,
And in the chronicle enrol his name
For purging of the realm of such a plague!
He saith true.
Ay, but how chance this was not done before?
Because, my lords, it was not thought upon.
But how if he do not?
Then may we with some color rise in arms;
For howsoever we have borne it out,
'Tis treason to be up against the king.
So we shall have the people of our side,
Which for his father's sake lean to the king,
But cannot brook a night−grown mushroom,
Such a one as my lord of Cornwall is,
Should bear us down of the nobility.
And when the commons and the nobles join,
'Tis not the king can buckler Gaveston;
We'll pull him from the strongest hold he hath.
Lancaster will grant.
And so will I.
In this I count me highly gratified,
And Mortimer will rest at your command.
And when this favour Isabel forgets,
Then let her live abandon'd and forlorn.
But see, in happy time, my lord the King,
Is new return'd. This news will glad him much,
Enter EDWARD, mourning
He's gone, and for his absence thus I mourn.
Did never sorrow go so near my heart
As doth the want of my sweet Gaveston;
And could my crown's revenue bring him back,
I would freely give it to his enemies,
And think I gain'd, having bought so dear a friend.
Hark! how he harps upon his minion.
My heart is as an anvil unto sorrow,
Which beats upon it like the Cyclops' hammers,
And with the noise turns up my giddy brain,
And makes me frantic for my Gaveston.
Ah! had some bloodless Fury rose from hell,
And with my kingly sceptre struck me dead,
When I was forc'd to leave my Gaveston!
My gracious lord, I come to bring you news.
That you have parley'd with your Mortimer!
That Gaveston, my lord, shall be repeal'd.
Repeal'd! The news is too sweet to be true.
But will you love me, if you find it so?
If it be so, what will not Edward do?
For Gaveston, but not for Isabel.
For thee, fair queen, if thou lov'st Gaveston.
I'll hang a golden tongue about thy neck,
Seeing thou hast pleaded with so good success.
EDWARD kisses ISABELLA
No other jewels hang about my neck
Than these, my lord; nor let me have more wealth
Than I may fetch from this rich treasury.
O how a kiss revives poor Isabel!
Once more receive my hand; and let this be
A second marriage 'twixt thyself and me.
And may it prove more happy than the first!
My gentle lord, bespeak these nobles fair,
That wait attendance for a gracious look,
And on their knees salute your majesty.
The NOBLES salute EDWARD
Now is the King of England rich and strong,
Having the love of his renowned peers.
Ay, Isabel, ne'er was my heart so light.
Now let us in, and feast it royally.
Until our friend the Earl of Cornwall comes,
Spare no cost; we will requite your love.
Exeunt [all, except MORTIMER and KENT]
Thou seest by nature he is mild and calm,
The mightiest kings have had their minions:
Great Alexander loved Hephestion;
The conquering Hercules for Hylas wept;
And for Patroclus stern Achilles drooped
And not kings only, but the wisest men:
The Roman Tully lov'd Octavius;
Grave Socrates, wild Alcibiades.
Then let his grace, whose youth is flexible,
And promiseth as much as we can wish,
Freely enjoy that vain, light−headed earl;
For riper years will wean him from such toys.
Good Kent, his wanton humour grieves not me;
But this I scorn, that one so basely born
Should by his sovereign's favour grow so pert,
And riot it with the treasure of the realm.
While soldiers mutiny for want of pay,
He wears a lord's revenue on his back,
And Midas−like, he jets it in the court,
With base outlandish cullions at his heels,
Whose proud fantastic liveries make such show
As if that Proteus, god of shapes, appear'd.
While others walk below, the king and he
From out a window laugh at such as we,
And flout our train, and jest at our attire.
Edmund, 'tis this that makes me impatient.
But maybe now you see the King has changed.
Then so am I, and live to do him service;
But whiles I have a sword, a hand, a heart,
I will not yield to any such upstart.
Enter EDWARD, ISABELLA, LANCASTER, MORTIMER, WARWICK, KENT, SPENCER
My Gaveston! Welcome to thy friend!
Thy absence made me droop and pine away;
For, as the lovers of fair Danae,
When she was lock'd up in a brazen tower,
Desired her more, and wax'd outrageous,
So did it fare with me; and now thy sight
Is sweeter far than was thy parting hence
Bitter and irksome to my sobbing heart.
Sweet lord and king, your speech preventeth mine,
Yet have I words left to express my joy:
The shepherd nipt with biting winter's rage
Frolics not more to see the painted spring,
Than I do to behold your majesty.
Will none of you salute my Gaveston?
Salute him? Yes. Welcome, Lord Chamberlain!
Welcome is the good Earl of Cornwall!
Welcome, Lord Governor of the Isle of Man!
Welcome, Master Secretary!
Proud Mortimer! Ungentle Lancaster!
Is this the love you bear your sovereign?
Sweet husband, be content, they all love you.
They love me not that hate my Gaveston.
My lord, I cannot brook these injuries.
Return it to their throats, I'll be thy warrant.
Base, leaden earls, that glory in your birth,
Go sit at home and eat your tenants' beef;
And come not here to scoff at Gaveston,
Whose mounting thoughts did never creep so low
As to bestow a look on such as you.
Yet I disdain not to do this for you.
The life of thee shall salve this foul disgrace.
Villain! thy life, unless I miss mine aim.
[Throws GAVESTON to the ground]
Ah! Furious Mortimer, what hast thou done?
No more than I would answer, were he slain.
[Exit GAVESTON, with ISABELLA]
Yes, more than thou canst answer, though he live.
Dear shall you both aby this riotous deed.
Out of my presence! Come not near the court.
I'll not be barr'd the court for Gaveston.
We'll hale him by the ears unto the block.
Look to your own heads; his is sure enough.
Look to your own crown, if you back him thus.
Warwick, these words do ill beseem thy years.
Nay, all of them conspire to cross me thus;
But if I live, I'll tread upon their heads
That think with high looks thus to tread me down.
My lord, the family of the Mortimers
Are not so poor, but, would they sell their land,
'Twould levy men enough to anger you.
The idle triumphs, masks, lascivious shows,
And prodigal gifts bestow'd on Gaveston,
Have drawn thy treasury dry, and made thee weak;
The murmuring commons, overstretched, break.
Look for rebellion, look to be depos'd.
Who loves thee, but a sort of flatterers?
Thy gentle queen, sole sister to Valois,
Complains that thou hast left her all forlorn.
Thy court is naked, being bereft of those
That make a king seem glorious to the world;
I mean the peers, whom thou should'st dearly love.
Libels are cast against thee in the street;
Ballads and rhymes made of thy overthrow.
When wert thou in the field with banner spread,
But once? and then thy soldiers marched like players,
With garish robes, not armour; and thyself,
Bedaub'd with gold, rode laughing at the rest,
Nodding and shaking of thy spangled crest.
Look next to see us with our ensigns spread
My swelling heart for very anger breaks!
How oft have I been baited by these peers,
And dare not be reveng'd, for their power is great!
Yet, shall the crowing of these cockerels
Affright a lion? Edward, unfold thy paws,
And let their lives' blood slake thy fury's hunger.
If I be cruel and grow tyrannous,
Now let them thank themselves, and rue too late.
My lord, I see your love to Gaveston
Will be the ruin of the realm and you,
For now the wrathful nobles threaten wars,
And therefore, brother, banish him forever.
Art thou an enemy to my Gaveston?
Ay, and it grieves me that I favoured him.
Traitor, begone! Whine thou with Mortimer.
So will I, rather than with Gaveston.
Out of my sight, and trouble me no more!
No marvel though thou scorn thy noble peers,
When I thy brother am rejected thus.
Poor Gaveston, that has no friend but me,
And, so I walk with him about the walls,
What care I though the earls begirt us round?
Here comes she that is cause of all these jars.
Enter QUEEN ISABELLA with GAVESTON
My lord, 'tis thought the earls are up in arms.
Ay, and 'tis likewise thought you favour 'em.
Thus do you still suspect me without cause?
My lord, dissemble with her, speak her fair.
Pardon me, sweet, I forgot myself.
Your pardon is quickly got of Isabel.
The younger Mortimer is grown so brave,
That to my face he threatens civil wars.
Why do you not commit him to the Tower?
I dare not, for the people love him well.
I know, my lord, many will stomach me,
But I respect neither their love nor hate.
The headstrong barons shall not limit me;
He that I list to favour shall be great.
Come, let's away; and when the feasting ends,
Have at the rebels, and their 'complices!
Enter KENT, LANCASTER, MORTIMER, WARWICK
My lords, of love to this our native land
I come to join with you and leave the king;
I fear me, you are sent of policy,
To undermine us with a show of love.
He is your brother, therefore have we cause
To cast the worst, and doubt of your revolt.
Mine honour shall be hostage of my truth;
If that will not suffice, farewell, my lords.
Stay, Edmund; never was Plantagenet
False to his word, and therefore trust we thee.
Now, my lords, know this,
That Gaveston here frolics with the king.
Let us with these our followers scale the walls,
And suddenly surprise them unawares.
I'll give the onset.
And I'll follow thee.
None be so hardy as to touch the king;
But neither spare you Gaveston nor his friends.
This tattered ensign of my ancestors
Which swept the desert shore of that dead sea
Whereof we got the name of Mortimer,
Will I advance upon these castle−walls.
Drums, strike alarum, raise them from their sport,
And ring aloud the knell of Gaveston!
Enter KING EDWARD, QUEEN ISABELLA, GAVESTON
Fly, fly, my lords, the earls have got the hold;
O stay, my lord, they will not injure you.
I will not trust them; Gaveston, away!
Farewell, my lord.
Farewell, sweet Gaveston;
No farewell to poor Isabel, thy queen?
Yes, yes, for Mortimer, your lover's sake.
Exeunt all but QUEEN ISABELLA
From my embracements thus he breaks away.
O that mine arms could close this isle about,
That I might pull him to me where I would!
Or that these tears that drizzle from mine eyes
Had power to mollify his stony heart,
That when I had him we might never part.
Enter LANCASTER, WARWICK, MORTIMER
I wonder how he scap'd!
Who's this? The queen!
Ay, Mortimer, the miserable queen,
Whose body with continual mourning wasted:
These hands are tir'd with haling of my lord
From Gaveston, from wicked Gaveston,
And all in vain; for, when I speak him fair,
He turns away, and smiles upon his minion.
Cease to lament, and tell us where's the king?
What would you with the king? Is't him you seek?
No, madam, but that cursed Gaveston.
Far be it from the thought of Lancaster
To offer violence to his sovereign.
We would but rid the realm of Gaveston:
Tell us where he remains, and he shall die.
He's gone that way.
Pursue him quickly, and he cannot 'scape;
The king hath left him, and his train is small.
Foreslow no time, sweet Lancaster; let's march.
Madam, stay you within this castle here.
No, Mortimer, I'll to my lord the king.
You know the king is so suspicious,
As if he hear I have but talk'd with you,
Mine honour will be call'd in question;
And therefore, gentle Mortimer, be gone.
Madam, I cannot stay to answer you,
But think of Mortimer as he deserves.
Exeunt all except QUEEN ISABELLA
So well hast thou deserv'd sweet Mortimer,
As Isabel could live with thee for ever!
In vain I look for love at Edward's hand,
Whose eyes are fix'd on none but Gaveston;
Yet once more I'll importune him with prayers.
If he be strange and not regard my words,
Then I will go and escape into France,
And to the king my brother there complain,
How Gaveston hath robb'd me of his love:
But yet I hope my sorrows will have end,
And Gaveston this blessed day be slain.
Enter GAVESTON, pursued
Yet, lusty lords, I have escap'd your hands,
Your threats, your 'larums, and your hot pursuits;
And though divorced from King Edward's eyes,
Yet liveth Pierce of Gaveston unsurpris'd,
Breathing, in hope (malgrado all your beards,
That muster rebels thus against your king),
To see his royal sovereign once again.
Enter [WARWICK, LANCASTER, MORTIMER, Soldiers]
Thou proud disturber of thy country's peace,
Corrupter of thy king, cause of these broils,
Base flatterer, yield! and were it not for shame,
Shame and dishonour to a soldier's name,
Upon my weapon's point here should'st thou fall,
And welter in thy gore.
Monster of men!
Look for no other fortune, wretch, than death!
King Edward is not here to buckler thee.
Lancaster, why talk'st thou to the slave?
But for thou wert the favourite of a king,
Thou shalt have so much honour at our hands
I thank you all, my lords: then I perceive,
That heading is one, and hanging is the other,
And death is all.
Enter KING EDWARD
I long to hear an answer from the barons
Touching my friend, my dearest Gaveston.
Oh, God! Not the riches of my realm
Can ransom him! Ah, he is mark'd to die!
I know the malice of the younger Mortimer,
Warwick I know is rough, and Lancaster
Inexorable, and I shall never see
My lovely Pierce, my Gaveston again!
What, my Spencer! Dost thou come alone?
Yea, my good lord, for Gaveston is dead.
Ah, traitors! have they put my friend to death?
Were I King Edward, England's sovereign,
Son to the lovely Eleanor of Spain,
Great Edward Longshanks' issue, would I bear
These braves, this rage, and suffer uncontroll'd
These barons thus to beard me in my land,
In mine own realm? My lord, pardon my speech:
Did you retain your father's magnanimity,
Did you regard the honour of your name,
You would not suffer thus your majesty
Be counterbuff'd of your nobility.
Strike off their heads, and let them preach on poles!
No doubt, such lessons they will teach the rest,
As by their preachments they will profit much,
And learn obedience to their lawful king.
Yea, gentle Spencer, we have been too mild,
Too kind to them; but now have drawn our sword.
We'll steel it on their crest, and poll their tops.
By earth, the common mother of us all,
By Heaven, and all the moving orbs thereof,
By this right hand, and by my father's sword,
And all the honours 'longing to my crown,
I will have heads, and lives for him, as many
As I have manors, castles, towns, and towers!
Treacherous Warwick! traitorous Mortimer!
If I be England's king, in lakes of gore
Your headless trunks, your bodies will I trail,
That you may drink your fill, and quaff in blood,
And stain my royal standard with the same,
That so my bloody colours may suggest
Remembrance of revenge immortally
On your accursed traitorous progeny,
You villains, that have slain my Gaveston!
And in this place of honour and of trust,
Spencer, sweet Spencer, I adopt thee here:
And merely of our love we do create thee
Earl of Gloucester, and Lord Chamberlain,
Despite of times, despite of enemies.
This haught resolve becomes your majesty,
Not to be tied to their affection,
As though your highness were a schoolboy still,
And must be aw'd and govern'd like a child.
My lord, here comes the queen.
Enter QUEEN ISABELLA
Madam, what news?
News of dishonour, lord, and discontent.
I learn, my lord, by letters and by words,
That Lord Valois our brother, King of France,
Because your highness hath been slack in homage,
Hath seized Normandy into his hands.
Valois and I will soon be friends again.
But to my Gaveston; shall I never see,
Never behold thee now! Madam, in this matter,
We will employ you being his sister.
You shall go parley with the King of France.
Unnatural wars, where subjects brave their king;
God end them once! My lords, I take my leave,
To make my preparation for France.
My lord, here's a message from the barons.
Desires access unto your majesty.
Let me hear.
Long live King Edward, England's lawful lord!
So wish not they, iwis, that sent this hither.
Thou com'st from Mortimer and his 'complices,
A ranker rout of rebels never was.
Well, say their message.
The barons up in arms, in this salute
Your highness with long life and happiness;
Say they; and lovingly advise your grace,
To cherish virtue and nobility,
And have old servitors in high esteem,
And shake off smooth dissembling flatterers.
This granted, they, their honours, and their lives,
Are to your highness vow'd and consecrate.
Ah, traitors! will they still display their pride?
Away, tarry no answer.
Rebels, will they appoint their sovereign
His sports, his pleasures, and his company?
Yet, let these men see how I do divorce
Spencer from me.
Now get thee to thy lords,
And tell them I will come to chastise them
For murdering Gaveston; hie thee, get thee gone!
Edward with fire and sword follows at thy heels.
My lord, perceive you how these rebels swell?
Soldiers, good hearts, defend your sovereign's right,
For now, even now, we march to make them stoop.
Alarums, excursions, a great fight, and a retreat
[Battlefield at Boroughbridge in Yorkshire]
Re−enter KING EDWARD and SPENCER
Why do we sound retreat? Upon them, lords!
This day I shall pour vengeance with my sword
On those proud rebels that are up in arms
And do confront and countermand their king.
I doubt it not, my lord, right will prevail.
Here come the rebels.
Enter MORTIMER, LANCASTER, WARWICK and others.
Look, Lancaster, yonder is Edward
Among his flatterers.
And there let him be
Till he pay dearly for his company.
And shall, or Warwick's sword shall smite in vain.
What, rebels, do you shrink and sound retreat?
No, Edward, no; thy flatterers faint and fly.
Thou'd best betimes forsake thee, and their trains,
For they'll betray thee, traitors as they are.
Traitor on thy face, rebellious Lancaster!
Away, base upstart, bravest thou nobles thus?
A noble attempt and honourable deed,
Is it not, trow ye, to assemble aid,
And levy arms against your lawful king!
For which ere long their heads shall satisfy,
To appease the wrath of their offended king.
Then, Edward, thou wilt fight it to the last,
And rather bathe thy sword in subjects' blood,
Than banish that pernicious company?
Alarum! To the fight!
[Alarums. Exeunt the two parties severally.]
Enter KING EDWARD, SPENCER, and, LANCASTER, WARWICK, and KENT (captives)
Now, lusty lords, now, not by chance of war,
But justice of the quarrel and the cause,
Vail'd is your pride; methinks you hang the heads,
But we'll advance them, traitors. Now 'tis time
To be avenged on you for all your braves,
And for the murder of my dearest friend,
To whom right well you knew our soul was knit,
Good Pierce of Gaveston, my sweet favourite.
Ah, rebels! recreants! you made him away.
Brother, in regard of thee, and of thy land,
Did they remove that flatterer from thy throne.
So, sir, you have spoke; away, avoid our presence.
[KENT steps aside]
Tyrant, I scorn thy threats and menaces;
It is but temporal that thou canst inflict.
The worst is death, and better die to live
Than live in infamy under such a king.
These lusty leaders, Warwick and Lancaster,
I charge you roundly off with both their heads!
Farewell, vain world!
Sweet Mortimer, farewell.
England, unkind to thy nobility,
Groan for this grief, behold how thou art maim'd!
Go Kent, take your leave; and for the rest,
Do speedy execution on them both.
[The captive Barons are led off.]
Sound drums and trumpets! March with me, my friends,
Edward this day hath crown'd him king anew.
Exeunt all except KENT
Fair blows the wind for France; blow gentle gale,
Till Edmund be arriv'd for England's good!
Nature, yield to my country's cause in this.
To Isabel, the queen, that now in France
Makes friends, to cross the seas with our French friends,
To find that Mortimer who is still free,
And step into my brother’s regiment.
A brother? No, a butcher of thy friends!
Proud Edward, dost thou banish me thy presence?
But I'll to France, and cheer the wronged queen,
And certify what Edward's looseness is.
Unnatural king! to slaughter noblemen
And cherish flatterers!
Enter EDWARD and SPENCER, projected
Thus after many threats of wrathful war,
Triumpheth England's Edward with his friends;
And triumph, Edward, with his friends uncontroll'd!
My lord of Gloucester, do you hear the news?
What news, my lord?
Why, man, they say there is great execution
They bark'd apace a month ago:
Now, on my life, they'll neither bark nor bite.
In France, Enter ISABELLA, on stage
Ay me! Our friends do fail us all in France;
The lords are cruel and the king unkind.
What shall we do?
Now, sir, the news from France? Gloucester, I trow
The lords of France love England's gold so well
As Isabella gets no aid from thence.
Enter KENT and MORTIMER
Madam, long may you live,
Much happier than your friends in England do!
Lord Edmund and Lord Mortimer alive!
What now remains? Have you proclaim'd, my lord,
Reward for them can bring in Mortimer?
My lord, we have; and if he be in England,
'A will be had ere long, I doubt it not.
Welcome to France! The news was here, my lord,
That you were dead, or very near your death.
Lady, the last was truest of the twain;
But Mortimer, reserv'd for better hap,
Hath shaken off the thraldom of the tyrant,
And lives t'advance your standard, my good queen.
But, gentle lords, friendless we are in France.
Indeed, madam, a noble friend of yours,
Told us, at our arrival, all the news:
How hard the nobles, how unkind the king
Hath show'd himself; but, madam, right makes room
Where weapons want; and, though a many friends
Are made away, as Warwick, Lancaster,
And others of our party and faction;
Yet have we friends, assure your grace, in England.
EDWARD is handed letters from off screen
How now, what news with thee? From whence come these?
Letters, my lord, and tidings forth of France;
Would all were well, and Edward well reclaim'd,
For England's honour, peace, and quietness.
But by the sword, my lord, 't must be deserv'd;
The king will ne'er forsake his flatterers.
My lords of England, since th' ungentle king
Of France refuseth to give aid of arms
To this distressed queen, his sister here,
Go you with me to England. Doubt ye not,
We will find comfort, money, men, and friends
Ere long, to bid our righteous cause a base.
Madam, along, and you, my lord, with me,
That England’s peers may hero’s welcome see.
Ah, villains! Hath that Mortimer escap'd?
With him is Edmund gone associate?
And will my Queen betray me soundly thus?
England shall welcome you and all your rout.
Gallop apace, bright Phoebus, through the sky,
And dusky night, in rusty iron car,
Between you both shorten the time, I pray,
That I may see that most desired day
When we may meet these traitors in the field.
Come now to that field, there to make us strong;
And, winds, as equal be to bring them in,
As you injurious were to bear them forth!
Now, lords, our loving friends and countrymen,
Welcome to England all, with prosperous winds!
Our kindest friends in Belgia have we left,
To cope with friends at home; a heavy case
When force to force is knit, and sword and glaive
In civil broils make kin and countrymen
Slaughter themselves in others, and their sides
With their own weapons gore! But what's the help?
Misgoverned kings are cause of all this wrack;
And, Edward, thou art one among them all,
Whose looseness hath betray'd thy land to spoil,
Who made the channels overflow with blood.
All homage, fealty, and forwardness;
And for the open wrongs and injuries
Edward hath done to us; his queen and land,
We come in arms to wreak it with the sword;
That England's queen in peace may repossess
Her dignities and honours; and withal
We may remove these flatterers from the king,
That havoc England's wealth and treasury.
Sound trumpets, my lord, and forward let us march;
Edward will think we come to flatter him.
I would he never had been flattered more.
Enter EDWARD and SPENCER, flying about the stage
Fly, fly, my lord! the queen is over−strong;
Her friends do multiply, and yours do fail.
Shape we our course to Ireland, there to breathe.
What! was I born to fly and run away,
And leave Mortimer’s conquerors behind?
Give me my horse, and let's reinforce our troops:
And in this bed of honour die with fame.
O no, my lord, this princely resolution
Fits not the time; away! we are pursued.
Enter KENT, with sword and target
This way he fled, but I am come too late
Edward, alas! my heart relents for thee.
Proud traitor, Mortimer, why dost thou chase
Thy lawful king, thy sovereign, with thy sword?
Vile wretch! and why hast thou, of all unkind,
Borne arms against thy brother and thy king?
Rain showers of vengeance on my cursed head,
Thou God, to whom in justice it belongs
To punish this unnatural revolt!
Edward, this Mortimer aims at thy life!
O fly him, then! But, Edmund, calm this rage,
Dissemble, or thou diest; for Mortimer
And Isabel do kiss, while they conspire;
And yet she bears a face of love forsooth.
Fie on that love that hatcheth death and hate!
Enter QUEEN ISABELLA and MORTIMER
Successful battle gives the God of kings
To them that fight in right and fear his wrath.
Since then successfully we have prevailed,
Thanked be Heaven's great architect, and you.
Madam, without offence, if I may ask,
How will you deal with Edward in his fall?
My lord of Kent, what needs these questions?
'Tis not in her controlment, nor in ours,
But as the realm and parliament shall please,
So shall your brother be disposed of.
I like not this relenting mood in Edmund. [Aside to the QUEEN.]
Madam, 'tis good to look to him betimes.
But where's the king and the other, Spencer, fled?
Spencer the son, created Earl of Gloucester,
Is shipped but late for Ireland with the king.
Some whirlwind fetch them back or sink them all! [Aside.]
They shall be started thence, I doubt it not.
Madam, what resteth? Why stand ye in a muse?
I rue my lord's ill−fortune; but alas!
Care of my country call'd me to this war.
Madam, have done with care and sad complaint;
Your king hath wrong'd your country and himself,
And we must seek to right it as we may.
Enter KING EDWARD and SPENCER
Have you no doubt, my lord; have you no fear;
As silent and as careful we will be,
To keep your royal person safe with us,
Free from suspect and fell invasion
Of such as have your majesty in chase,
As danger of this stormy time requires.
O! hadst thou ever been a king, thy heart,
Pierced deeply with sense of my distress,
Could not but take compassion of my state.
Stately and proud, in riches and in train,
Whilom I was powerful, and full of pomp:
But what is he whom rule and empery
Have not in life or death made miserable?
Come, Spencer; come, my friend, come sit down by me;
Make trial now of that philosophy,
That in our famous nurseries of arts
Thou suck'dst from Plato and from Aristotle.
Spencer, this life contemplative is Heaven.
O that I might this life in quiet lead!
But we, alas! are chas'd; and you, my friend,
Your life and my dishonour they pursue.
We were embark'd for Ireland, wretched we!
With awkward winds and with sore tempests driven
To fall on shore, and here to pine in fear
Of Mortimer and his confederates.
Mortimer! who talks of Mortimer?
Who wounds me with the name of Mortimer,
That bloody man? Good Spencer, on thy lap
Lay I this head, laden with mickle care.
O might I never open these eyes again!
Never again lift up this drooping head!
O never more lift up this dying heart!
My lord? My lord? -- This drowsiness
Betides no good; here even we are betray'd.
Enter GURNEY & MATREVIS
Pathetic Spencer by no other name,
I do arrest you of high treason here.
Stand not on titles, but obey the arrest;
'Tis in the name of Isabel the queen.
O day, the last of all my bliss on earth!
Centre of all misfortune! O my stars,
Why do you lour unkindly on a king?
Comes this man, then, in Isabella's name
To take my life, my company from me?
Here, man, rip up this panting breast of mine,
And take my heart in rescue of my friends!
Away with him!
It may become thee yet
To let me take my farewell of his grace.
Spencer, ah, sweet Spencer, thus then must we part?
We must, my lord, so will the angry Heavens.
Nay, so will hell and cruel Mortimer;
The gentle Heavens have not to do in this.
My lord, it is in vain to grieve or storm.
Here humbly of your grace I take my leave;
My lot is cast; I fear me, so is thine.
In Heaven we may, in earth ne'er shall we meet:
And you sir, say, what shall become of us?
Your majesty must go with me right now.
Must! it is somewhat hard, when kings must go.
There is a litter ready for your grace,
That waits your pleasure, and the day grows old.
As good be gone, as stay and be benighted.
A litter hast thou? Lay me in a hearse,
And to the gates of hell convey me hence;
Let Pluto's bells ring out my fatal knell,
And hags howl for my death at Charon's shore,
For friends hath Edward none but him,
And he must die under a tyrant's sword.
My lord, be going; care not for him,
For I shall see him shorter by the head.
Well, that shall be, shall be: part we must!
Sweet Spencer, good companion, part we must!
Hence feigned weeds! unfeigned are my woes;
He stay'st for me,
And go I must. Life, farewell, with my friends.
[Exeunt KING EDWARD & GURNEY.]
O! is he gone? Is noble Edward gone?
Parted from hence, never to see me more?
Reduce we all our lessons unto this:
To die, sweet Spencer, therefore live we all;
Spencer, all live to die, and rise to fall.
SPENCER is killed by MATREVIS
Enter KING EDWARD with MATREVIS and GOURNEY
Be Patient, good my lord, cease to lament.
The griefs of private men are soon allay'd,
But not of kings. The forest deer, being struck,
Runs to an herb that closeth up the wounds;
But, when the imperial lion's flesh is gored,
He rends and tears it with his wrathful paw,
And highly scorning that the lowly earth
Should drink his blood, mounts up into the air.
And so it fares with me, whose dauntless mind
The ambitious Mortimer would seek to curb,
And that unnatural queen, false Isabel,
That thus hath pent and mew'd me in a prison;
For such outrageous passions cloy my soul,
As with the wings of rancour and disdain,
Full often am I soaring up to Heaven,
To plain me to the gods against them both.
But when I call to mind I am a king,
Methinks I should revenge me of my wrongs,
That Mortimer and Isabel have done.
But what are kings, when regiment is gone,
But perfect shadows in a sunshine day?
My nobles rule, I bear the name of king;
I wear the crown, but am controll'd by them,
Whilst I am lodg'd within this cave of care,
Where sorrow at my elbow still attends,
To company my heart with sad laments,
That bleeds within me for this strange exchange.
But tell me, must I now resign my crown,
To make usurping Mortimer a king?
Your grace mistakes; it is for England's good,
No, 'tis for Mortimer,
My lord, why waste you thus the time away?
They stay your answer; will you yield your crown?
Ah, my friend, weigh how hardly I can brook
To lose my crown and kingdom without cause;
To give ambitious Mortimer my right,
That like a mountain overwhelms my bliss,
In which extreme my mind here murdered is.
But what the heavens appoint, I must obey!
Here, take my crown; the life of Edward too; [Taking off the crown.]
Two kings in England cannot reign at once.
But stay awhile, let me be king till night,
That I may gaze upon this glittering crown;
So shall my eyes receive their last content,
My head, the latest honour due to it,
And jointly both yield up their wished right.
Continue ever thou celestial sun;
Let never silent night possess this clime:
Stand still you watches of the element;
All times and seasons, rest you at a stay,
That Edward may be still fair England's king!
But day's bright beam doth vanish fast away,
And needs I must resign my wished crown.
Inhuman creatures! nurs'd with tiger's milk!
Why gape you for your sovereign's overthrow!
My diadem I mean, and guiltless life.
See, monsters, see, I'll wear my crown again! [He puts on the crown.]
What, fear you not the fury of your king?
But, hapless Edward, thou art fondly led;
They pass not for thy frowns as late they did,
But seek to make a new−elected king;
Which fills my mind with strange despairing thoughts,
Which thoughts are martyred with endless torments,
And in this torment comfort find I none,
But that I feel the crown upon my head;
And therefore let me wear it yet awhile.
My lord, the parliament must have present news,
And therefore say, will you resign or no? [The KING rageth.]
I'll not resign, but whilst I live be king.
Traitors, be gone and join with Mortimer!
Elect, conspire, install, do what you will:
Their blood and yours shall seal these treacheries!
This answer we'll return, and so farewell.
Call thou them back, I have no power to speak.
My lord, the king is willing to resign.
If he be not, let him choose.
O would I might, but heavens and earth conspire
To make me miserable! Here receive my crown;
Take it. What, are you moved? Pity you me?
Then send for unrelenting Mortimer,
And Isabel, whose eyes, being turned to steel,
Will sooner sparkle fire than shed a tear.
Yet stay, for rather than I'll look on them,
Here, here! [Gives the crown.]
Now, sweet God of Heaven,
Make me despise this transitory pomp,
And sit for aye enthronized in Heaven!
Come, death, and with thy fingers close my eyes,
Or if I live, let me forget myself.
MATREVIS and GOURNEY
Call me not lord; away! Out of my sight!
Ah, pardon me: grief makes me lunatic!
I know the next news that they bring
Will be my death; and welcome shall it be;
To wretched men, death is felicity.
[The royal palace]
Enter QUEEN ISABELLA and MORTIMER
Fair Isabel, now have we our desire;
The proud corrupters of the light−brain'd king
Have done their homage to the lofty gallows,
And he himself lies in captivity.
Be rul'd by me, and we will rule the realm.
In any case take heed of childish fear,
For now we hold an old wolf by the ears,
That, if he slip, will seize upon us both,
And gripe the sorer, being grip'd himself.
Sweet Mortimer, the life of Isabel,
Be thou persuaded that I love thee well,
First would I hear news that he were depos'd,
And then let me alone to handle him.
[Enter MATREVIS and GOURNEY with the crown]
How fares my lord the king?
In health, madam, but full of pensiveness.
Alas, poor soul, would I could ease his grief!
Thanks, gentle jailer.
The king hath willingly resign'd his crown.
O happy news!
And we have heard that Edmund laid a plot
To set his brother free; no more but so.
What course shall we pursue?
Because we hear
That Edmund casts to work his liberty,
Remove him still from place to place by night,
And by the way, to make him fret the more,
Speak curstly to him, and in any case
Let no man comfort him if he chance to weep,
But amplify his grief with bitter words.
Fear not, my lord, we’ll do as you command.
So now away; post thitherwards amain.
Commend me humbly to his majesty,
And tell him that I labour all in vain
To ease his grief, and work his liberty;
I will, madam. Exit
Finely dissembled. Do so still, sweet queen.
Here comes the Earl of Kent.
Use Edmund friendly, as if all were well.
How fares my honourable lord of Kent?
In health, sweet Mortimer. How fares your grace?
Well, if my lord your brother were released.
But brother, you know it is impossible.
Why, is he dead?
No, God forbid!
I would those words proceeded from your heart.
I hear of late he hath depos'd himself.
The more my grief.
Ah, they do dissemble!
Mortimer shall know that he hath wrong'd me!
Hence will I haste to Killingworth Castle,
And rescue tortured Edward from his foes,
To be revenged on Mortimer and thee. [Aside.]
Exeunt [on one side QUEEN ISABELLA, MORTIMER; on the other KENT]
Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY with KING EDWARD
My lord, be not pensive, we are your friends;
Men are ordain'd to live in misery,
Therefore come, dalliance dangereth our lives.
Friends, whither must unhappy Edward go?
Will hateful Mortimer appoint no rest?
Must I be vexed like the nightly bird,
Whose sight is loathsome to all winged fowls?
When will the fury of his mind assuage?
When will his heart be satisfied with blood?
If mine will serve, unbowel straight this breast,
And give my heart to Isabel and him;
It is the chiefest mark they level at.
Not so my liege, the queen hath given this charge
To keep your grace in safety;
Your passions make your dolours to increase.
Within a dungeon England's king is kept,
Where I am starv'd for want of sustenance.
My daily diet is heart−breaking sobs,
That almost rents the closet of my heart.
Thus lives “king” Edward not reliev'd by any,
And so must die, though pitied by many.
O, water, gentle friends, to cool my thirst,
And clear my body from foul excrements!
Here's channel water, as our charge is given.
Sit down, for we'll be barbers to your grace.
Traitors, away! What, will you murder me,
Or choke your sovereign with puddle water?
Why strive you thus? Your labour is in vain!
The wren may strive against the lion's strength,
But all in vain: so vainly do I strive
To seek for mercy at a tyrant's hand.
[They wash him with puddle water.]
Immortal powers! that knows the painful cares
That wait upon my poor distressed soul,
O level all your looks upon these daring men,
That wrongs their liege and sovereign, England's king!
O Gaveston, 'tis for thee that I am wrong'd,
And for your sakes a thousand wrongs I'll take.
Come, come away; now put the torches out,
How now, who comes there?
Guard the king sure: it is the Earl of Kent.
O gentle brother, help to rescue me!
Keep them asunder; thrust in the king.
Soldiers, let me but talk to him one word.
Lay hands upon the earl for his assault.
Now let me go you traitors! Yield the king!
Edmund, yield thou thyself, or thou shalt die.
Base villains, wherefore do you gripe me thus?
Take him and so convey him to the court.
Where is the court but here? Here is the king;
And I will visit him; why stay you me?
The court is where Lord Mortimer remains;
Thither shall your honour go; and so farewell.
O miserable is that commonweal,
Where lords keep courts, and kings are locked in prison!
Wherefore stay we? On, sir, to the court!
Ay, lead me whither you will, even to my death,
Seeing that my brother cannot be releas'd.
[The royal palace]
The king must die, or Mortimer goes down;
The commons now begin to pity him.
Yet he that is the cause of Edward's death,
Is sure to bear the common’s wrath;
And therefore will I do it cunningly.
Lightborn, come forth!
Art thou as resolute as thou wast?
What else, my lord? And far more resolute.
And hast thou cast how to accomplish it?
Ay, ay, and none shall know which way he died.
But at his looks, Lightborn, thou wilt relent.
Relent! ha, ha! I use much to relent.
Well, do it bravely, and be secret.
You shall not need to give instructions;
'Tis not the first time I have kill'd a man.
I learn'd in Naples how to poison flowers;
To strangle with a lawn thrust through the throat;
To pierce the windpipe with a needle's point;
Or whilst one is asleep, to take a quill
And blow a little powder in his ears;
Or open his mouth and pour quicksilver down.
And yet I have a braver way than these.
Nay, you shall pardon me; none shall know my tricks.
I care not how it is, so it be not spied. [Gives letter.]
Deliver this to Gurney and Matrevis.
Take this; [Gives money] away! and never see me more.
Unless thou bring me news of Edward's death.
That will I quickly do. Farewell, my lord. [Exit.]
The realm I rule, the queen do I command,
And with a lowly conge to the ground,
The proudest lords salute me as I pass;
I seal, I cancel, I do what I will.
Fear'd am I more than lov'd; let me be fear'd,
And when I frown, make all the court look pale.
Now is all sure: the queen and Mortimer
Shall rule the realm, the king; and none rule us.
Mine enemies will I plague, my friends advance;
And what I list command who dare control?
Major sum quam cui possit fortuna nocere.
“I am so great that fortune cannot harm me”
And that this be the coronation−day,
It pleaseth me, and Isabel the queen. [Trumpets within.]
Enter ISABELLA, with KENT prisoner
What traitor have we there with blades and bills?
Edmund, the Earl of Kent.
Did you attempt this rescue, Edmund? Speak.
Mortimer, I did; he is our king,
Strike off his head! he shall have martial law.
Art thou king? Must I die at thy command?
At our command! Once more away with him!
Strike off my head! Base traitors, I defy thee!
Let me but stay and speak; I will not go.
My brother is the king, not Mortimer
And never did he thirst for Edmund's blood:
And therefore, usurpers, whither will you hale me?
KENT is murdered
Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY
Gurney, I wonder the king dies not,
Being in a vault up to the knees in water
To which the channels of the castle run,
From whence a damp continually ariseth,
That were enough to poison any man,
Much more a king brought up so tenderly.
And so do I, Matrevis: yesternight
I opened but the door to throw him meat,
And I was almost stifled with the savour.
He hath a body able to endure
More than we can inflict: and therefore now
Let us assail his mind another while.
Send for him out thence, and I will anger him.
But stay, who's this?
My Lord Protector greets you. [Gives letter.]
What's here? I know not how to construe it.
I must have the king.
Ay, stay awhile, thou shalt have answer straight.
This villain's sent to make away the king. [Aside.]
I thought as much. [Aside.]
And when the murder's done,
See how he must be handled for his labour.
Pereat iste! Let him have the king. [Aside.]
What else? Here is the key, this is the lake,
Do as you are commanded by my lord.
I know what I must do. Get you away.
Yet be not far off, I shall need your help;
See that in the next room I have a fire,
And get me a spit, and let it be red−hot.
Need you anything besides?
What else? A table and a feather−bed.
Ay, ay; so, when I call you, bring it in.
Fear not thou that.
Here's a light, to go into the dungeon.
[Gives a light, and then exit with MATREVIS.]
Must I about this gear; ne'er was there any
So finely handled as this king shall be.
For, here's a place indeed, with all my heart!
Who's there? What light is that? wherefore com'st thou?
To comfort you, and bring you joyful news.
Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks.
Villain, I know thou com'st to murder me.
To murder you, my most gracious lord!
Far is it from my heart to do you harm.
The queen sent me to see how you were used,
For she relents at this your misery:
And what eyes can refrain from shedding tears,
To see a king in this most piteous state?
Weep'st thou already? List awhile to me
And then thy heart, were it as Gurney's is,
Or as Matrevis', hewn from the Caucasus,
Yet will it melt, ere I have done my tale.
This dungeon where they keep me is the sink
Wherein the filth of all the castle falls.
And there in mire and puddle have I stood
This ten days' space; and, lest that I should sleep,
One plays continually upon a drum.
They give me bread and water, being a king;
So that, for want of sleep and sustenance,
My mind's distempered, and my body's numb'd,
And whether I have limbs or no I know not.
O, would my blood dropp'd out from every vein,
As doth this water from my tattered robes.
O speak no more, my lord! this breaks my heart.
Lie on this bed, and rest yourself awhile.
These looks of thine can harbour nought but death:
I see my tragedy written in thy brows.
Yet stay a while; forbear thy bloody hand,
And let me see the stroke before it comes,
That even then when I shall lose my life,
My mind may be more steadfast on my God.
What means your highness to mistrust me thus?
What mean'st thou to dissemble with me thus?
These hands were never stain'd with innocent blood,
Nor shall they now be tainted with a king's.
Forgive my thought for having such a thought.
One jewel have I left; receive thou this. [Giving jewel.]
Still fear I, and I know not what's the cause,
But every joint shakes as I give it thee.
O, if thou harbour'st murder in thy heart,
Let this gift change thy mind, and save thy soul!
Know that I am a king: O, at that name
I feel a hell of grief! Where is my crown?
Gone, gone! and do I still remain alive?
You're overwatch'd, my lord; lie down and rest.
But that grief keeps me waking, I should sleep;
For not these ten days have these eye−lids clos'd.
Now as I speak they fall, and yet with fear
Open again. O wherefore sitt'st thou here?
If you mistrust me, I'll begone, my lord.
No, no, for if thou mean'st to murder me,
Thou wilt return again, and therefore stay. [Sleeps.]
[waking]. O let me not die yet! O stay awhile!
How now, my lord?
Something still buzzeth in mine ears,
And tells me if I sleep I never wake;
This fear is that which makes me tremble thus.
And therefore tell me, wherefore art thou come?
To rid thee of thy life!
I am too weak and feeble to resist:
Assist me, sweet God, and receive my soul!
Run for the table.
O spare me, or despatch me in a trice. [MATREVIS brings in a table.]
So, lay the table down, and stamp on it,
But not too hard, lest that you bruise his body.
EDWARD is murdered
END OF PLAY