King Edward III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter at one door Derby from France, at an other door Audley with a drum


Thrice noble Audley, well encountered here!

How is it with our sovereign and his peers?


'Tis full a fortnight since I saw his highness,

What time he sent me forth to muster men,

Which I accordingly have done, and bring them hither

In fair array before his majesty.
array (n.) 2 readiness for combat, warlike state
fair (adj.) 4 fine, pleasing, splendid, excellent

What news, my lord of Derby, from the Emperor?


As good as we desire: the Emperor

Hath yielded to his highness friendly aid,

And makes our king lieutenant-general

In all his lands and large dominions.
dominion (n.) land, territory, province

Then via for the spacious bounds of France!
bound (n.) 2 territory, region, domain


What, doth his highness leap to hear these news?
leap (v.) 2 rejoice, enthuse, exult


I have not yet found time to open them.
open (v.) 2 announce, communicate, divulge

The King is in his closet, malcontent,
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room
malcontent (adj.) discontented, disaffected, dissatisfied

For what I know not, but he gave in charge
give in charge give orders, command, direct

Till after dinner none should interrupt him.

The Countess Salisbury and her father Warwick,

Artois, and all, look underneath the brows.
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow


Undoubtedly then something is amiss.

Trumpet within
abroad (adv.) 2 around, about, on the move


The trumpets sound; the King is now abroad.

Enter the King


Here comes his highness.


Befall my sovereign all my sovereign's wish!


Ah, that thou wert a witch to make it so!


The Emperor greeteth you – (presenting letters)


                         Would it were the Countess!


And hath accorded to your highness' suit –
accord (v.) agree, assent, consent
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count


Thou liest, she hath not; but I would she had.


All love and duty to my lord the king!


Well, all but one is none. – What news with you?


I have, my liege, levied those horse and foot
foot (n.) 1 foot-soldiers, infantry
horse (n.) cavalry, horse soldiers
levy (v.) 1 enlist, conscript, muster

According as your charge, and brought them hither.
according as (prep.) according to
charge (n.) 1 command, order, injunction, instruction


Then let those foot trudge hence upon those horse,
foot (n.) 1 foot-soldiers, infantry
trudge (v.) go away, depart, leave

According to our discharge, and be gone. –
discharge (n.) 2 dismissal, permission to leave

Derby, I'll look upon the Countess' mind anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count


The Countess' mind, my liege?


I mean the Emperor. – Leave me alone.


What's in his mind?
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count


                         Let's leave him to his humour.

Exeunt Derby and Audley


Thus from the heart's abundance speaks the tongue:

‘ Countess ’ for ‘ Emperor ’ – and indeed, why not?

She is as imperator over me, and I to her
imperator (n.) emperor, absolute ruler, sovereign

Am as a kneeling vassal, that observes
vassal (n.) 1 servant, slave, subject

The pleasure or displeasure of her eye.

Enter Lodowick

What says the more than Cleopatra's match

To Caesar now?


                         That yet, my liege, ere night

She will resolve your majesty.
resolve (v.) 1 answer, respond to

Drum within


What drum is this that thunders forth this march

To start the tender Cupid in my bosom?
start (v.) 2 startle, alarm, disturb

Poor sheepskin, how it brawls with him that beateth it!
brawl (v.) 1 quarrel, squabble, contend
sheepskin (n.) [descriptive of a] drum [the skin of a sheep being used for the making of drumheads]

Go, break the thund'ring parchment-bottom out,
break (v.) 14 wear out, exhaust
out (adv.) 7 fully, completely, outright, totally
parchment-bottom (n.) [descriptive of a] drum

And I will teach it to conduct sweet lines
conduct (v.) carry, convey, direct

Unto the bosom of a heavenly nymph;

For I will use it as my writing paper,

And so reduce him from a scolding drum

To be the herald and dear counsel-bearer
counsel-bearer (n.) carrier of private messages

Betwixt a goddess and a mighty king.

Go, bid the drummer learn to touch the lute,
touch (v.) 10 finger, sound, play on

Or hang him in the braces of his drum,
brace (n.) 3 cord, strap, thong

For now we think it an uncivil thing
uncivil (adj.) uncivilized, barbarous, unrefined

To trouble heaven with such harsh resounds.
resound (v.) resounding noise, reverberation


Exit Lodowick

The quarrel that I have requires no arms

But these of mine; and these shall meet my foe

In a deep march of penetrable groans;
march (n.) 1 sequence, rhythmical movement
penetrable (adj.) 2 penetrating, piercing

My eyes shall be my arrows, and my sighs

Shall serve me as the vantage of the wind,
vantage (n.) 1 right moment, suitable opportunity

To whirl away my sweetest artillery.

Ah, but alas, she wins the sun of me,

For that is she herself, and thence it comes

That poets term the wanton warrior blind;
wanton (adj.) 3 unrestrained, undisciplined, boisterous, uncontrolled

But love hath eyes as judgement to his steps,
judgement (n.) 6 guide, leader, director

Till too much loved glory dazzles them. –
glory (n.) 1 splendour, magnificence, brilliance

How now?

Enter Lodowick
lusty (adj.) 2 merry, cheerful, lively
strike (v.), past form stroke 2 beat, sound, strike up


My liege, the drum that stroke the lusty march

Stands with Prince Edward, your thrice valiant son.
stand with (v.) accompany, go along with, attend

Enter Prince Edward


(aside) I see the boy. Oh, how his mother's face,

Modelled in his, corrects my strayed desire,

And rates my heart, and chides my thievish eye,
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count
rate (v.) 1 berate, reproach, rebuke, scold

Who, being rich enough in seeing her,

Yet seeks elsewhere: and basest theft is that

Which cannot cloak itself on poverty. –
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count
cloak (v.) disguise, conceal, mask

Now, boy, what news?


I have assembled, my dear lord and father,

The choicest buds of all our English blood

For our affairs to France, and here we come

To take direction from your majesty.


(aside) Still do I see in him delineate

His mother's visage: those his eyes are hers,
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Who looking wistly on me make me blush,
wistly (adv.) intently, attentively, earnestly

For faults against themselves give evidence.

Lust is a fire, and men like lanthorns show

Light lust within themselves, even through themselves.
light (adj.) 1 promiscuous, licentious, immoral, wanton

Away, loose silks of wavering vanity!
wavering (adj.) inconstant, fickle, capricious

Shall the large limit of fair Brittayne

By me be overthrown, and shall I not

Master this little mansion of myself?

Give me an armour of eternal steel!

I go to conquer kings; and shall I not then

Subdue myself, and be my enemies' friend?

It must not be. – Come, boy, forward, advance!

Let's with our colours sweet the air of France.
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count
sweet (v.) sweeten, make pleasing, fumigate

Enter Lodowick
cheer (n.) 4 face, look, expression


My liege, the Countess with a smiling cheer

Desires access unto your majesty.


(aside) Why, there it goes! That very smile of hers

Hath ransomed captive France, and set the king,

The Dauphin, and the peers at liberty. –

Go, leave me, Ned, and revel with thy friends.

Exit Prince

Thy mother is but black, and thou, like her,

Dost put it in my mind how foul she is. –

Go, fetch the Countess hither in thy hand,
hand (n.) 3 care, escort, keeping

Exit Lodowick

And let her chase away these winter clouds,

For she gives beauty both to heaven and earth.

The sin is more to hack and hew poor men,

Than to embrace in an unlawful bed

The register of all rarieties
rariety (n.) rarity, exceptional quality
register (n.) 1 record, catalogue, inventory

Since leathern Adam till this youngest hour.
leathern (adj.) 2 clothed in animal skins
youngest (adj.) latest, most recent

Enter Lodowick and the Countess

Go, Lod'wick, put thy hand into thy purse,

Play, spend, give, riot, waste, do what thou wilt,

So thou wilt hence a while and leave me here.

Exit Lodowick

Now, my soul's playfellow, art thou come

To speak the more than heavenly word of yea

To my objection in thy beauteous love?
objection (n.) 2 offer, proposal, claim


My father on his blessing hath commanded –


That thou shalt yield to me.


Ay, dear my liege, your due.


And that, my dearest love, can be no less

Than right for right, and render love for love.
render (v.) 2 exchange, give in return


Than wrong for wrong, and endless hate for hate.

But sith I see your majesty so bent,

That my unwillingness, my husband's love,

Your high estate, nor no respect respected,

Can be my help, but that your mightiness

Will overbear and awe these dear regards,
awe (v.) 1 repress through dread, constrain in fear
overbear (v.) 2 overrule, overcome, put down
regard (n.) 2 consideration, respect, factor

I bind my discontent to my content,
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

And what I would not, I'll compel I will,

Provided that yourself remove those lets
let (n.) hindrance, obstacle, snag

That stand between your highness' love and mine.


Name them, fair Countess, and by heaven I will.


It is their lives that stand between our love

That I would have choked up, my sovereign.
choke up (v.) smother, suffocate, stifle


Whose lives, my lady?


                         My thrice loving liege,

Your Queen, and Salisbury, my wedded husband,

Who living have that title in our love
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

That we cannot bestow but by their death.
bestow (v.) 1 give, provide, grant


Thy opposition is beyond our law.
opposition (n.) 2 counter-proposal, alternative proposition


So is your desire. If the law

Can hinder you to execute the one,
execute (v.) 1 carry out, fulfil, perform

Let it forbid you to attempt the other.

I cannot think you love me as you say,

Unless you do make good what you have sworn.


No more: thy husband and the Queen shall die.

Fairer thou art by far than Hero was,

Beardless Leander not so strong as I:

He swum an easy current for his love,

But I will through a Hellespont of blood

To arrive at Sestos, where my Hero lies.


Nay, you'll do more: you'll make the river too

With their heart bloods that keep our love asunder,

Of which my husband and your wife are twain.


Thy beauty makes them guilty of their death

And gives in evidence that they shall die,

Upon which verdict I their judge condemn them.


(aside) O perjured beauty, more corrupted judge!

When to the great Star-chamber o'er our heads
Star-chamber (n.) supreme court of justice

The universal sessions calls to 'count
account, accompt (n.) 1 reckoning, judgement [especially by God]

This packing evil, we both shall tremble for it.
packing (adj.) furtive, underhand, plotting


What says my fair love? Is she resolved?


Resolved to be dissolved; and therefore this:
dissolved (adj.) 1 destroyed, ruined; also: annulled

Keep but thy word, great King, and I am thine.

Stand where thou dost – I'll part a little from thee –

And see how I will yield me to thy hands.

Here by my side doth hang my wedding knives:

Take thou the one, and with it kill thy queen,

And learn by me to find her where she lies;

And with this other I'll dispatch my love,
dispatch, despatch (v.) 3 kill, put to death, make away with, finish off

Which now lies fast asleep within my heart.

When they are gone, then I'll consent to love. –

Stir not, lascivious King, to hinder me.

My resolution is more nimbler far

Than thy prevention can be in my rescue;
prevention (n.) 2 intervention, forestalling, interposing

And if thou stir, I strike. Therefore, stand still,

And hear the choice that I will put thee to:
still (adj.) 1 silent, quiet

Either swear to leave thy most unholy suit
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

And never henceforth to solicit me,
solicit (v.) 2 court, chase after, pursue

Or else, by heaven, this sharp-pointed knife

Shall stain thy earth with that which thou wouldst stain,

My poor chaste blood. Swear, Edward, swear,

Or I will strike, and die before thee here.


Even by that power I swear, that gives me now
power (n.) 3 authority, government

The power to be ashamed of myself,

I never mean to part my lips again

In any words that tends to such a suit.
suit (n.) 2 wooing, courtship

Arise, true English lady, whom our isle

May better boast of than ever Roman might

Of her, whose ransacked treasury hath tasked
ransacked (adj.) violated, ravished, plundered
treasury (n.) 2 treasure-house

The vain endeavour of so many pens;

Arise, and be my fault thy honour's fame,

Which after ages shall enrich thee with.
after (adj.) 2 future, later, following

I am awaked from this idle dream. –

Warwick, my son, Derby, Artois, and Audley,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

Brave warriors all, where are you all this while?

Enter all

Warwick, I make thee Warden of the North.

Thou, Prince of Wales, and Audley, straight to sea;
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Scour to Newhaven; some there stay for me.
scour (v.) 3 go in haste, move quickly, hurry long

Myself, Artois, and Derby will through Flanders

To greet our friends there and to crave their aid.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count

This night will scarce suffice me to discover
discover (v.) 1 reveal, show, make known See Topics: Frequency count

My folly's siege against a faithful lover;

For ere the sun shall gild the eastern sky,
gild (v.), past forms gilt, gilded 2 bring colour to, brighten, illuminate

We'll wake him with our martial harmony.


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