King Edward III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Lodowick


I might perceive his eye in her eye lost,

His ear to drink her sweet tongue's utterance,

And changing passions, like inconstant clouds

That rack upon the carriage of the winds,
rack (v.) 1 drive, move with force

Increase and die in his disturbed cheeks.

Lo, when she blushed, even then did he look pale,

As if her cheeks by some enchanted power

Attracted had the cherry blood from his.

Anon, with reverent fear when she grew pale,
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

His cheeks put on their scarlet ornaments,

But no more like her oriental red
oriental (adj.) brilliant, glowing, radiant

Than brick to coral, or live things to dead.

Why did he then thus counterfeit her looks?
counterfeit (v.) 1 copy, imitate, simulate See Topics: Frequency count

If she did blush, 'twas tender modest shame,

Being in the sacred presence of a king.

If he did blush, 'twas red immodest shame,

To vail his eyes amiss, being a king.
amiss (adv.) wrongly, improperly, in an unseemly way
vail (v.) 1 lower, bow down, cast down [as in submission]

If she looked pale, 'twas silly woman's fear,
silly (adj.) 1 helpless, defenceless, vulnerable

To bear herself in presence of a king.
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 1 behave, look, conduct [oneself]

If he looked pale, it was with guilty fear,

To dote amiss, being a mighty king.
amiss (adv.) wrongly, improperly, in an unseemly way

Then, Scottish wars, farewell! I fear 'twill prove

A ling'ring English siege of peevish love.
peevish (adj.) 2 obstinate, perverse, self-willed [contrast modern sense of ‘irritable, morose’]

Here comes his highness, walking all alone.

Enter King Edward


She is grown more fairer far since I came hither,

Her voice more silver every word than other,

Her wit more fluent. What a strange discourse
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

Unfolded she of David and his Scots!

‘ Even thus,’ quoth she, ‘ he spake,’ and then spoke broad,
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

With epithets and accents of the Scot,
epithet (n.) turn of phrase, expression

But somewhat better than the Scot could speak.

‘ And thus ’ quoth she, and answered then herself,

For who could speak like her? – But she herself

Breathes from the wall an angel's note from heaven
note (n.) 11 melody, tune, music, song

Of sweet defiance to her barbarous foes.

When she would talk of peace, methinks her tongue
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Commanded war to prison; when of war,

It wakened Caesar from his Roman grave

To hear war beautified by her discourse.

Wisdom is foolishness but in her tongue,

Beauty a slander but in her fair face.

There is no summer but in her cheerful looks,

Nor frosty winter but in her disdain.

I cannot blame the Scots that did besiege her,

For she is all the treasure of our land;

But call them cowards that they ran away,

Having so rich and fair a cause to stay. –

Art thou there, Lod'wick? Give me ink and paper.


I will, my liege.


And bid the lords hold on their play at chess,
hold on (v.) carry on, go on with

For we will walk and meditate alone.


I will, my sovereign.



This fellow is well read in poetry,

And hath a lusty and persuasive spirit.
lusty (adj.) 3 pleasing, pleasant, agreeable

I will acquaint him with my passion,
passion (n.) 1 powerful feeling, overpowering emotion [often opposed to ‘reason’]

Which he shall shadow with a veil of lawn,
lawn (n.) [type of] fine linen
shadow (v.) 2 portray, paint, depict

Through which the queen of beauty's queen shall see

Herself the ground of my infirmity.
ground (n.) 1 reason, cause, source

Enter Lodowick


Hast thou pen, ink, and paper ready, Lodowick?


Ready, my liege.


Then in the summer arbour sit by me;
arbour (n.) bower, shady retreat

Make it our counsel house or cabinet.
cabinet (n.) 1 private apartment, intimate chamber

Since green our thoughts, green be the conventicle
conventicle (n.) 1 meeting-place
green (adj.) 1 fresh, recent, new

Where we will ease us by disburd'ning them.
disburden (v.) unburden, unload, reveal

Now, Lod'wick, invocate some golden Muse
invocate (v.) invoke, call upon, entreat

To bring thee hither an enchanted pen

That may for sighs set down true sighs indeed,

Talking of grief, to make thee ready groan,
ready (adv.) readily, quickly, speedily

And when thou writ'st of tears, encouch the word
encouch (v.) enclose, embed, wrap around

Before and after with such sweet laments,

That it may raise drops in a Tartar's eye,

And make a flint-heart Scythian pitiful;
flint-heart (adj.) hard-hearted, hard-boiled

For so much moving hath a poet's pen
moving (n.) power to move, affecting, stirring

Then, if thou be a poet, move thou so,

And be enriched by thy sovereign's love;

For if the touch of sweet concordant strings
concordant (adj.) 2 harmonious, tuneful, melodious

Could force attendance in the ears of hell,
attendance (n.) 2 attention, consideration, notice

How much more shall the strains of poets' wit
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

Beguile and ravish soft and human minds!
beguile (v.) 3 charm, captivate, bewitch
human (adj.) 2 tender, delicate, gentle
ravish (v.) 1 entrance, enrapture, carry away with joy See Topics: Archaisms


To whom, my lord, shall I direct my style?


To one that shames the fair and sots the wise;
sot (v.) besot, make foolish

Whose body is an abstract or a brief,
abstract (n.) 1 summary, digest
brief (n.) 4 epitome, embodiment

Contains each general virtue in the world.

‘ Better than beautiful ’ thou must begin.

Devise for fair a fairer word than fair,

And every ornament that thou wouldst praise,
ornament (n.) 1 special quality, distinction

Fly it a pitch above the soar of praise.
pitch (n.) 1 height [to which a bird of prey soars before swooping]
soar (n.) highest point, summit

For flattery fear thou not to be convicted;

For, were thy admiration ten times more,

Ten times ten thousand more the worth exceeds

Of that thou art to praise, thy praise's worth.

Begin. I will to contemplate the while.

Forget not to set down how passionate,

How heart-sick, and how full of languishment
languishment (n.) longing, pain, grief [caused by love]

Her beauty makes me.


                         Write I to a woman?


What beauty else could triumph over me?

Or who but women do our love-lays greet?
love-lay (n.) love-song

What, think'st thou I did bid thee praise a horse?


Of what condition or estate she is
condition (n.) 4 position, social rank, station
estate (n.) 2 high rank, standing, status

'Twere requisite that I should know, my lord.


Of such estate, that hers is as a throne,

And my estate the footstool where she treads;

Then mayst thou judge what her condition is
condition (n.) 4 position, social rank, station

By the proportion of her mightiness.
proportion (n.) 1 measure, extent, degree, magnitude

Write on, while I peruse her in my thoughts.

[Missing line]

Her voice to music or the nightingale –

To music every summer-leaping swain
summer-leaping (adj.) delighting in the summertime
swain (n.) 4 lover, wooer, sweetheart

Compares his sun-burnt lover when she speaks.

And why should I speak of the nightingale?

The nightingale sings of adulterate wrong,
adulterate (adj.) adulterous

And that, compared, is too satirical;
satirical (adj.) ironic, ridiculous, incongruous

For sin, though sin, would not be so esteemed,

But rather, virtue sin, sin virtue deemed.

Her hair, far softer than the silkworm's twist,

Like to a flattering glass, doth make more fair
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

The yellow amber. – ‘ Like a flattering glass ’
amber (n.) any amber-coloured substance or material

Comes in too soon; for, writing of her eyes,

I'll say that like a glass they catch the sun,

And thence the hot reflection doth rebound

Against my breast, and burns my heart within.

Ah, what a world of descant makes my soul
descant (n.) melodious accompaniment, tuneful variation

Upon this voluntary ground of love! –
ground (n.) 10 [music] constant bass rhythm underneath a descant, foundation

Come, Lod'wick, hast thou turned thy ink to gold?

If not, write but in letters capital

My mistress' name, and it will gild thy paper.

Read, Lod'wick, read.

Fill thou the empty hollows of mine ears

With the sweet hearing of thy poetry.


I have not to a period brought her praise.
period (n.) 1 full stop, end, ending, conclusion


Her praise is as my love, both infinite,

Which apprehend such violent extremes

That they disdain an ending period.
period (n.) 1 full stop, end, ending, conclusion

Her beauty hath no match but my affection;
affection (n.) 4 love, devotion

Hers more than most, mine most and more than more;

Hers more to praise than tell the sea by drops,
tell (v.) 1 count out, number, itemize

Nay, more than drop the massy earth by sands,
massy (adj.) massive, heavy, colossal

And sand by sand print them in memory.

Then wherefore talk'st thou of a period
period (n.) 1 full stop, end, ending, conclusion

To that which craves unended admiration?
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require

Read, let us hear.


‘ More fair and chaste than is the queen of shades ’


That line hath two faults, gross and palpable:
gross (adj.) 1 plain, striking, evident, obvious
palpable (adj.) evident, obvious, apparent

Compar'st thou her to the pale queen of night,

Who, being set in dark, seems therefore light?

What is she, when the sun lifts up his head,

But like a fading taper, dim and dead?

My love shall brave the eye of heaven at noon,
brave (v.) 1 challenge, defy, confront, provoke

And, being unmasked, outshine the golden sun.


What is the other fault, my sovereign lord?


Read o'er the line again.


                         ‘ More fair and chaste ’ –


I did not bid thee talk of chastity,

To ransack so the treasure of her mind;

For I had rather have her chased than chaste.

Out with the moon line, I will none of it,

And let me have her likened to the sun.

Say she hath thrice more splendour than the sun,

That her perfections emulates the sun,

That she breeds sweets as plenteous as the sun,
sweet (n.) 2 sweet-scented flower, fragrant plant

That she doth thaw cold winter like the sun,

That she doth cheer fresh summer like the sun,

That she doth dazzle gazers like the sun;

And, in this application to the sun,
application (n.) 2 analogy, allusion, reference

Bid her be free and general as the sun,
general (adj.) 4 open to all, universally benevolent

Who smiles upon the basest weed that grows
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count

As lovingly as on the fragrant rose. –

Let's see what follows that same moonlight line.


‘ More fair and chaste than is the queen of shades,

More bold in constancy ’ –


In constancy than who?


                         ‘ than Judith was.’


O monstrous line! Put in the next a sword,

And I shall woo her to cut off my head.
woo (v.) 2 entreat, plead with, implore

Blot, blot, good Lod'wick! Let us hear the next.
blot (v.) 2 erase, wipe out, obliterate


There's all that yet is done.


I thank thee, then. Thou hast done little ill,
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count

But what is done is passing passing ill.

No, let the captain talk of boist'rous war,
boisterous (adj.) 1 violent, fierce, savage

The prisoner of immured [QQ emured ] dark constraint,
immured (adj.) walled up, enclosed, confined

The sick man best sets down the pangs of death,

The man that starves the sweetness of a feast,

The frozen soul the benefit of fire,

And every grief his happy opposite:

Love cannot sound well but in lovers' tongues.

Give me the pen and paper; I will write.

Enter Countess

But soft, here comes the treasurer of my spirit. –

Lod'wick, thou know'st not how to draw a battle:
battle (n.) 2 battle array, war formation, ranks of soldiers
draw (v.) 9 deploy, position, dispose

These wings, these flankers, and these squadrons
flanker (n.) soldier deployed on the flanks of an army

Argue in thee defective discipline.
discipline (n.) 1 military strategy, tactics, training in the art of war

Thou shouldst have placed this here, this other here.


Pardon my boldness, my thrice gracious lords.

Let my intrusion here be called my duty,

That comes to see my sovereign how he fares.
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


Go, draw the same, I tell thee in what form.
draw (v.) 9 deploy, position, dispose


I go.



Sorry I am to see my liege so sad.
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

What may thy subject do to drive from thee

Thy gloomy consort, sullen melancholy?
consort (n.) 1 companion, partner, associate


Ah, lady, I am blunt, and cannot strew

The flowers of solace in a ground of shame.

Since I came hither, Countess, I am wronged.


Now God forbid that any in my house

Should think my sovereign wrong! Thrice gentle King,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

Acquaint me with your cause of discontent.


How near then shall I be to remedy?


As near, my liege, as all my woman's power
power (n.) 7 control, influence, sway

Can pawn itself to buy thy remedy.


If thou speak'st true, then have I my redress:

Engage thy power to redeem my joys,

And I am joyful, Countess; else I die.


I will, my liege.


                         Swear, Countess, that thou wilt.


By heaven, I will.


Then take thyself a little way aside,

And tell thyself a king doth dote on thee;
dote on / upon (v.) 1 be infatuated with, idolize

Say that within thy power doth lie

To make him happy, and that thou hast sworn

To give him all the joy within thy power.

Do this, and tell me when I shall be happy.


All this is done, my thrice dread sovereign.
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe

That power of love that I have power to give,

Thou hast with all devout obedience:

Employ me how thou wilt in proof thereof.
proof (n.) 3 test, trial


Thou hear'st me say that I do dote on thee.
dote on / upon (v.) 1 be infatuated with, idolize


If on my beauty, take it if thou canst:

Though little, I do prize it ten times less.

If on my virtue, take it if thou canst,

For virtue's store by giving doth augment.

Be it on what it will that I can give,

And thou canst take away, inherit it.


It is thy beauty that I would enjoy.


O, were it painted, I would wipe it off

And dispossess myself, to give it thee.

But, sovereign, it is soldered to my life:
solder (v.) unite, interlink, fasten

Take one and both, for, like an humble shadow,

It haunts the sunshine of my summer's life.


But thou mayst lend it me to sport withal.
sport (v.) 1 make merry, take pleasure (in)


As easy may my intellectual soul
intellectual (adj.) which gives intellect, intelligent

Be lent away, and yet my body live,

As lend my body, palace to my soul,

Away from her, and yet retain my soul.

My body is her bower, her court, her abbey,

And she an angel, pure, divine, unspotted:

If I should leave her house, my lord, to thee,

I kill my poor soul, and my poor soul me.


Didst thou not swear to give me what I would?


I did, my liege, so what you would I could.


I wish no more of thee than thou mayst give,

Nor beg I do not, but I rather buy –

That is, thy love; and for that love of thine

In rich exchange I tender to thee mine.


But that your lips were sacred, my lord,

You would profane the holy name of love.

That love you offer me you cannot give,

For Caesar owes that tribute to his queen.

That love you beg of me I cannot give,

For Sarah owes that duty to her lord.

He that doth clip or counterfeit your stamp
clip (v.) 4 pare, cut [as of the edges of a coin]
counterfeit (v.) 1 copy, imitate, simulate See Topics: Frequency count
stamp (n.) 2 coin, impression [of the monarch's head] made on a coin

Shall die, my lord; and will your sacred self

Commit high treason against the king of heaven,

To stamp his image in forbidden metal,
stamp (v.) 1 press, impress, coin

Forgetting your allegiance and your oath?

In violating marriage' sacred law

You break a greater honour than yourself.

To be a king is of a younger house
house (n.) 3 ancestry, lineage, family

Than to be married: your progenitor,

Sole reigning Adam on the universe,

By God was honoured for a married man,

But not by him anointed for a king.

It is a penalty to break your statutes,
penalty (n.) punishable offence, criminal act

Though not enacted with your highness' hand;

How much more to infringe the holy act

Made by the mouth of God, sealed with His hand?

I know my sovereign, in my husband's love,

Who now doth loyal service in his wars,

Doth but so try the wife of Salisbury,
try (v.) 2 put to the test, test the goodness [of]

Whither she will hear a wanton's tale or no.
wanton (n.) 1 libertine, seducer

Lest being therein guilty by my stay,

From that, not from my liege, I turn away.



Whether is her beauty by her words divine,

Or are her words sweet chaplains to her beauty?
chaplain (n.) minister, spiritual attendant

Like as the wind doth beautify a sail,

And as a sail becomes the unseen wind,
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

So do her words her beauty, beauty words.

O, that I were a honey-gathering bee,

To bear the comb of virtue from this flower,
comb (n.) honeycomb

And not a poison-sucking envious spider,
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

To turn the juice I take to deadly venom!

Religion is austere, and beauty gentle:
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

Too strict a guardian for so fair a ward.
ward (n.) 5 person under someone's protection, minor

O, that she were as is the air to me!

Why, so she is; for when I would embrace her,

This do I, and catch nothing but myself.

I must enjoy her, for I cannot beat

With reason and reproof fond love away.
fond (adj.) 4 infatuated, doting, passionate

Enter Warwick

Here comes her father: I will work with him

To bear my colours in this field of love.
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count


How is it that my sovereign is so sad?
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

May I, with pardon, know your highness' grief,

And that my old endeavour will remove it,

It shall not cumber long your majesty.
cumber (v.) distress, trouble, burden


A kind and voluntary gift thou profferest,
proffer (v.) 2 express, utter, put into words

That I was forward to have begged of thee.
forward (adj.) 1 ready, eager, inclined

But O, thou world, great nurse of flattery,

Why dost thou tip men's tongues with golden words,

And peise their deeds with weight of heavy lead,
peise (v.) 1 weigh down, burden, load

That fair performance cannot follow promise?

O, that a man might hold the heart's close book

And choke the lavish tongue, when it doth utter
lavish (adj.) 1 effusive, unrestrained, exuberant
tongue (n.) 1 speech, expression, language, words, voice

The breath of falsehood not charactered there!
character (v.) inscribe, engrave, write


Far be it from the honour of my age

That I should owe bright gold and render lead:
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

Age is a cynic, not a flatterer.
cynic (n.) critic, fault-finder

I say again, that if I knew your grief,

And that by me it may be lessened,

My proper harm should buy your highness' good.
harm (n.) 1 injury, hurt, pain
proper (adj.) 2 very, own


These are the vulgar tenders of false men,
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
tender (n.) 1 offer, offering
vulgar (adj.) 5 familiar, ordinary, everyday

That never pay the duty of their words.
duty (n.) 5 debt, obligation, dues

Thou wilt not stick to swear what thou hast said,
stick (v.) 8 persist, stand firm, be steadfast

But, when thou know'st my grief's condition,
condition (n.) 3 nature, state, circumstances

This rash disgorged vomit of thy word

Thou wilt eat up again, and leave me helpless.


By heaven, I will not, though your majesty

Did bid me run upon your sword and die.


Say that my grief is no way medicinable
medicinable (adj.) 2 curable, able to be healed

But by the loss and bruising of thine honour.


If nothing but that loss may vantage you,
vantage (v.) benefit, aid, help

I would account that loss my vantage too.
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit


Think'st that thou canst unswear thy oath again?
unswear (v.) abjure, retract, repudiate


I cannot; nor I would not, if I could.


But if thou dost, what shall I say to thee?


What may be said to any perjured villain,

That breaks the sacred warrant of an oath.
warrant (n.) 1 assurance, pledge, guarantee


What wilt thou say to one that breaks an oath?


That he hath broke his faith with God and man,

And from them both stands excommunicate.


What office were it to suggest a man
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count
suggest (v.) 1 tempt, prompt, incite

To break a lawful and religious vow?


An office for the devil, not for man.


That devil's office must thou do for me,

Or break thy oath or cancel all the bonds

Of love and duty 'twixt thyself and me.

And therefore, Warwick, if thou art thyself,

The lord and master of thy word and oath,

Go to thy daughter, and in my behalf

Command her, woo her, win her any ways
woo (v.) 1 win over, persuade, coax

To be my mistress and my secret love.

I will not stand to hear thee make reply:
stand (v.) 3 stop, halt

Thy oath break hers, or let thy sovereign die.



O doting King! O detestable office!
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Well may I tempt myself to wrong myself,

When he hath sworn me by the name of God

To break a vow made by the name of God.

What if I swear by this right hand of mine

To cut this right hand off? The better way

Were to profane the idol than confound it.

But neither will I do: I'll keep mine oath,

And to my daughter make a recantation

Of all the virtue I have preached to her.

I'll say she must forget her husband Salisbury,

If she remember to embrace the King;

I'll say an oath can easily be broken,

But not so easily pardoned, being broken;

I'll say it is true charity to love,

But not true love to be so charitable;

I'll say his greatness may bear out the shame,
bear out (v.) 1 endure, weather, cope [with]

But not his kingdom can buy out the sin;

I'll say it is my duty to persuade,

But not her honesty to give consent.
honesty (n.) 2 honour, integrity, uprightness

Enter Countess

See where she comes; was never father had

Against his child an embassage so bad.
embassage, ambassage (n.) message, errand, business, mission


My lord and father, I have sought for you.

My mother and the peers importune you
importune (v.) 1 urge, press

To keep in presence of his majesty,
keep (v.) 6 continue, carry on, remain

And do your best to make his highness merry.


(aside) How shall I enter in this graceless errand?
graceless (adj.) wicked, ungodly, immoral

I must not call her child, for where's the father

That will in such a suit seduce his child?
suit (n.) 2 wooing, courtship

Then ‘ wife of Salisbury ’ shall I so begin?

No, he's my friend, and where is found the friend

That will do friendship such endamagement?
endamagement (n.) damage, injury, harm

(to the Countess) Neither my daughter nor my dear friend's wife,

I am not Warwick, as thou think'st I am,

But an attorney from the court of hell,

That thus have housed my spirit in his form,

To do a message to thee from the King.

The mighty King of England dotes on thee:
dote on / upon (v.) 1 be infatuated with, idolize

He that hath power to take away thy life

Hath power to take thine honour; then consent

To pawn thine honour rather than thy life.

Honour is often lost and got again,

But life, once gone, hath no recovery.

The sun that withers hay doth nourish grass:

The King that would distain thee will advance thee.
distain (v.) 1 dishonour, defile, corrupt

The poets write that great Achilles' spear

Could heal the wound it made: the moral is,

What mighty men misdo, they can amend.
misdo (v.) do wrongly, transgress

The lion doth become his bloody jaws,
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

And grace his foragement by being mild
foragement (n.) foraging act, scavenging
grace (v.) 4 show mercy to, reprieve

When vassal fear lies trembling at his feet.
vassal (adj.) 2 submissive, abject, yielding

The King will in his glory hide thy shame;
glory (n.) 1 splendour, magnificence, brilliance

And those that gaze on him to find out thee

Will lose their eyesight looking in the sun.

What can one drop of poison harm the sea,

Whose hugy vastures can digest the ill
hugy (adj.) huge, immense, enormous
ill (n.) 3 illness, malady, affliction
vasture (n.) vastness, immensity, extent

And make it lose his operation?
operation (n.) 1 effect, force, influence, power

The king's great name will temper thy misdeeds,

And give the bitter potion of reproach
reproach (n.) 1 blame, disgrace, shame

A sugared, sweet, and most delicious taste.

Besides, it is no harm to do the thing

Which without shame could not be left undone.

Thus have I in his majesty's behalf

Apparelled sin in virtuous sentences,
apparel (v.) 1 clothe, dress up, trick out
sentence (n.) 1 maxim, wise saying, precept

And dwell upon thy answer in his suit.
dwell on / upon 2 wait for, await
suit (n.) 2 wooing, courtship


Unnatural besiege! Woe me unhappy,
besiege (n.) siege, besieging

To have escaped the danger of my foes,

And to be ten times worse envired by friends!
envire (v.) surround, encircle, beset

Hath he no means to stain my honest blood,
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage

But to corrupt the author of my blood

To be his scandalous and vile solicitor?
scandalous (adj.) 1 bringing dishonour, offensive, discreditable
solicitor (n.) advocate, instigator, go-between

No marvel though the branch be then infected,

When poison hath encompassed the root;

No marvel though the lep'rous infant die,
leperous, leprous (adj.) infected, poisoned, leprosy-like

When the stern dame envenometh the dug.
dame (n.) 2 mother, nurse
dug (n.) nipple, teat, breast
envenom (v.) poison, taint, destroy
stern (adj.) 1 cruel, malevolent, harsh

Why then, give sin a passport to offend

And youth the dangerous reign of liberty;

Blot out the strict forbidding of the law,

And cancel every canon that prescribes

A shame for shame, or penance for offence.

No, let me die, if his too boist'rous will
boisterous (adj.) 1 violent, fierce, savage

Will have it so, before I will consent

To be an actor in his graceless lust.
graceless (adj.) wicked, ungodly, immoral


Why, now thou speak'st as I would have thee speak;

And mark how I unsay my words again:
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
unsay (v.) take back, withdraw, retract

An honourable grave is more esteemed

Than the polluted closet of a king;
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room

The greater man, the greater is the thing,

Be it good or bad, that he shall undertake;

An unreputed mote, flying in the sun,
mote (n.) speck of dust, tiny particle, trifle
unreputed (adj.) insignificant, inconspicuous, insubstantial

Presents a greater substance than it is;

The freshest summer's day doth soonest taint
fresh (adj.) 2 bright, blooming, gay
taint (v.) 1 sully, infect, stain

The loathed carrion that it seems to kiss;
carrion (n.) 2 dead putrifying flesh, rotting carcass

Deep are the blows made with a mighty axe;

That sin doth ten times aggravate itself,
aggravate (v.) 2 make more grievous, make worse, exacerbate

That is committed in a holy place;

An evil deed, done by authority,
authority (n.) 3 authoritative influence, dictatorial opinion

Is sin and subornation; deck an ape
subornation (n.) aiding and abetting, inducement to do wrong, instigation

In tissue, and the beauty of the robe
tissue (n.) [type of] rich cloth, sumptuous fabric

Adds but the greater scorn unto the beast.

A spacious field of reasons could I urge

Between his glory, daughter, and thy shame:
glory (n.) 1 splendour, magnificence, brilliance

That poison shows worst in a golden cup;

Dark night seems darker by the lightning flash;

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds;

And every glory that inclines to sin,
glory (n.) 3 exalted person, majesty, celebrity

The shame is treble by the opposite.

So leave I with my blessing in thy bosom,

Which then convert to a most heavy curse
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty

When thou convert'st from honour's golden name
bed-blotting (adj.) polluting the marriage bed

To the black faction of bed-blotting shame.
faction (n.) 1 party, group, set [of people]


I'll follow thee; and when my mind turns so,

My body sink my soul in endless woe!


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