King Edward III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter King John of France, his two sons, Charles of Normandy and Philip, and the Duke of Lorraine


Here, till our navy of a thousand sail

Have made a breakfast to our foe by sea,

Let us encamp, to wait their happy speed. –
speed (n.) 1 success, fortune, good luck

Lorraine, what readiness is Edward in?

How hast thou heard that he provided is

Of martial furniture for this exploit?
furniture (n.) 4 equipment, matériel
martial (adj.) 2 military, warlike, combat


To lay aside unnecessary soothing,
soothing (n.) 2 reassurance, heartening

And not to spend the time in circumstance,
circumstance (n.) 2 circumlocution, verbiage, unnecessary detail

'Tis bruited for a certainty, my lord,
bruit (v.) report, announce, proclaim

That he's exceeding strongly fortified;

His subjects flock as willingly to war

As if unto a triumph they were led.


England was wont to harbour malcontents,
malcontent (n.) discontented individual, trouble-maker
wont (v.) be accustomed, used [to], be in the habit of See Topics: Frequency count

Bloodthirsty and seditious Catilines,

Spendthrifts, and such that gape for nothing else
gape (v.) long, be eager, yearn

But changing and alteration of the state.

And is it possible that they are now

So loyal in themselves?


All but the Scot, who solemnly protests,

As heretofore I have informed his grace,

Never to sheathe his sword or take a truce.


Ah, that's the anch'rage of some better hope.

But, on the other side, to think what friends

King Edward hath retained in Netherland,

Among those ever-bibbing epicures,
epicure (n.) 2 pleasure-seeker, glutton
ever-bibbing (adj.) always drinking, tippling

Those frothy Dutchmen puffed with double beer,
double (adj.) 5 [of beer] extra strong, very powerful

That drink and swill in every place they come,

Doth not a little aggravate mine ire.

Besides, we hear the Emperor conjoins,
conjoin (v.) 1 unite, join together

And stalls him in his own authority.
authority (n.) 1 right to command, position of power
stall (v.) 1 install, place, appoint

But all the mightier that the number is,

The greater glory reaps the victory.

Some friends have we beside domestic power:
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

The stern Polonian, and the warlike Dane,

The King of Bohemia and of Sicily,

Are all become confederates with us,

And, as I think, are marching hither apace.
apace (adv.) quickly, speedily, at a great rate See Topics: Frequency count

Drum within

But soft, I hear the music of their drums,

By which I guess that their approach is near.

Enter the King of Bohemia, with Danes, and a Polonian captain, with other soldiers, another way
neighbourhood (n.) 2 friendly relations, close alliance


King John of France, as league and neighbourhood

Requires, when friends are any way distressed,

I come to aid thee with my country's force.


And from great Moscow, fearful to the Turk,

And lofty Poland, nurse of hardy men,

I bring these servitors to fight for thee,
servitor (n.) 2 mercenary, soldier

Who willingly will venture in thy cause.


Welcome, Bohemian King, and welcome all:

This your great kindness I will not forget.

Besides your plentiful rewards in crowns

That from our treasury ye shall receive,

There comes a hare-brained nation, decked in pride,

The spoil of whom will be a treble gain.
spoil (n.) 2 plunder, booty

And now my hope is full, my joy complete:

At sea we are as puissant as the force
puissant (adj.) powerful, mighty, strong

Of Agamemnon in the haven of Troy;

By land, with Xerxes we compare of strength,

Whose soldiers drank up rivers in their thirst.

Then Bayard-like, blind overweening Ned,
overweening (adj.) arrogant, overambitious, high and mighty

To reach at our imperial diadem

Is either to be swallowed of the waves,

Or hacked a-pieces when thou comest ashore.

Enter Mariner
descry (v.) 1 catch sight of, make out, espy, discover


Near to the coast I have descried, my lord,

As I was busy in my watchful charge,

The proud armado of King Edward's ships,
armado (n.) armada, fleet, navy

Which, at the first far off when I did ken,
ken (v.) 1 see, make out, espy

Seemed as it were a grove of withered pines;

But, drawing near, their glorious bright aspect,
aspect (n.) 2 [of objects] sight, appearance

Their streaming ensigns wrought of coloured silk,

Like to a meadow full of sundry flowers
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

Adorns the naked bosom of the earth.

Majestical the order of their course,
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

Figuring the horned circle of the moon;
figure (v.) 2 reproduce, look like, shape like

And on the top gallant of the admiral,
admiral (n.) admiral's ship, flagship
gallant (n.) 3 flag flown on the rear mast of a ship See Topics: Ships

And likewise all the handmaids of his train,

The arms of England and of France unite

Are quartered equally by herald's art.
quarter (n.) 4 divide into quarters [on a flag or shield]

Thus, titely carried with a merry gale,
gale (n.) wind, breeze
merry (adj.) 4 [of winds] favourable, helpful, advantageous
titely (adv.) 1 quickly, speedily, swiftly

They plough the ocean hitherward amain.
amain (adv.) 1 in all haste, at full speed


Dare he already crop the fleur-de-lis?
fleur-de-lis, flower-de-luce (n.) heraldic lily [royal symbol of France]

I hope, the honey being gathered thence,

He, with the spider afterward approached,

Shall suck forth deadly venom from the leaves. –

But where's our navy? How are they prepared

To wing themselves against this flight of ravens?
wing (v.) 2 put on wings; hoist sail


They, having knowledge brought them by the scouts,

Did break from anchor straight, and, puffed with rage
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

No otherwise then were their sails with wind,

Made forth, as when the empty eagle flies

To satisfy his hungry griping maw.
griping (adj.) voracious, grasping, devouring
maw (n.) belly, stomach; throat, gullet


There's for thy news. Return unto thy bark;
bark, barque (n.) ship, vessel

And if thou scape the bloody stroke of war
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count

And do survive the conflict, come again,

And let us hear the manner of the fight.

Exit Mariner
mean space in the meantime, meanwhile

Mean space, my lords, 'tis best we be dispersed

To several places, least they chance to land.
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

First you, my lord, with your Bohemian troops,

Shall pitch your battles on the lower hand;
battle (n.) 2 battle array, war formation, ranks of soldiers

My eldest son, the Duke of Normandy,

Together with this aid of Muscovites,

Shall climb the higher ground another way;

Here in the middle coast, betwixt you both,
coast (n.) 2 part of the coast, region

Philip my youngest boy and I will lodge.

So, lords, be gone, and look unto your charge:
charge (n.) 1 command, order, injunction, instruction

You stand for France, an empire fair and large.

Exeunt all but King John and Philip

Now tell me, Philip, what is thy conceit,
conceit (n.) 4 view, opinion, judgement

Touching the challenge that the English make.


I say, my Lord, claim Edward what he can,

And bring he ne'er so plain a pedigree,

'Tis you are in the possession of the crown,

And that's the surest point of all the law;

But were it not, yet ere he should prevail,

I'll make a conduit of my dearest blood,
conduit (n.) 3 channel, outflowing, water-spout, fountain

Or chase those straggling upstarts home again.


Well said, young Philip! Call for bread and wine,

That we may cheer our stomachs with repast,
repast (n.) food and drink, meal, refreshment

To look our foes more sternly in the face.

A table and provisions brought in; the battle heard afar off
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty

Now is begun the heavy day at sea.

Fight, Frenchmen, fight; be like the field of bears

When they defend their younglings in their caves.
youngling (n.) 2 young, offspring

Steer, angry Nemesis, the happy helm,

That with the sulphur battles of your rage
battle (n.) 3 hostile encounter, force
sulphur (adj.) fiery, hellish

The English fleet may be dispersed and sunk.



O father, how this echoing cannon shot,

Like sweet harmony, disgests my cates!
cates (n.) 1 (plural) delicacies, choice foodstuffs
digest, disgest (v.) 1 digest, swallow


Now, boy, thou hear'st what thund'ring terror 'tis

To buckle for a kingdom's sovereignty.
buckle (v.) 1 prepare for battle, engage in warfare

The earth, with giddy trembling when it shakes,
giddy (adj.) 6 swaying, quaking, dizzying

Or when the exhalations of the air
exhalation (n.) 3 outpouring, discharge

Breaks in extremity of lightning flash,

Affrights not more than kings when they dispose
affright (v.) frighten, terrify, scare
dispose (v.) 6 decide, prepare, get ready

To show the rancour of their high-swoll'n hearts.


Retreat is sounded; one side hath the worse.

O, if it be the French, sweet Fortune, turn,

And in thy turning change the froward winds,
froward (adj.) 2 adverse, unfavourable, contrary

That, with advantage of a favouring sky,

Our men may vanquish, and the other fly!

Enter Mariner
misgive (v.) 2 have misgivings, have a bad feeling

My heart misgives. – Say, mirror of pale death,

To whom belongs the honour of this day.

Relate, I pray thee, if thy breath will serve,

The sad discourse of this discomfiture.
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy


I will, my lord.

My gracious sovereign, France hath ta'en the foil,
foil (n.) 2 check, repulse, setback, defeat

And boasting Edward triumphs with success.

These iron-hearted navies,

When last I was reporter to your grace,

Both full of angry spleen, of hope, and fear,
spleen (n.) 1 temper, spirit, passion [part of the body seen as the source of both gloomy and mirthful emotions]

Hasting to meet each other in the face,

At last conjoined, and by their admiral
admiral (n.) admiral's ship, flagship
conjoin (v.) 2 make contact, come together

Our admiral encountered many shot.
shot (n.) 1 cannonfire, firing, salvoes

By this, the other, that beheld these twain

Give earnest penny of a further wrack,
earnest penny guarantee, promise [small sum of money paid to secure a bargain]
wrack (n.) 1 destruction, ruin

Like fiery dragons took their haughty flight,

And, likewise meeting, from their smoky wombs

Sent many grim ambassadors of death.

Then 'gan the day to turn to gloomy night,

And darkness did as well enclose the quick
quick (n.) 2 living, those alive

As those that were but newly reft of life.

No leisure served for friends to bid farewell;

And, if it had, the hideous noise was such

As each to other seemed deaf and dumb.

Purple the sea, whose channel filled as fast
channel (n.) 3 narrow inlet, passage into a harbour

With streaming gore that from the maimed fell

As did the gushing moisture break into

The crannied cleftures of the through-shot planks.
clefture (n.) fissure, crack, fracture
crannied (adj.) cracked, split, holed
through-shot (adj.) shot through, punctured, pierced

Here flew a head dissevered from the trunk,

There mangled arms and legs were tossed aloft,

As when a whirlwind takes the summer dust

And scatters it in middle of the air.

Then might ye see the reeling vessels split,
split (v.) break up, split in two

And tottering sink into the ruthless flood,
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water

Until their lofty tops were seen no more.

All shifts were tried, both for defence and hurt;
hurt (n.) 2 attack, offence, [causing] damage
shift (n.) 4 stratagem, tactic, way

And now the effect of valour and of force,

Of resolution and of cowardice,

Were lively pictured: how the one for fame,

The other by compulsion laid about.
lay about (v.) strike out, fight hard

Much did the Nonpareille, that brave ship;
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count

So did the Black Snake of Boulogne, than which

A bonnier vessel never yet spread sail;
bonny (adj.) 2 fine, beautiful, splendid

But all in vain. Both sun, the wind, and tide

Revolted all unto our foemen's side,

That we perforce were fain to give them way,
fain (adj.) 1 obliged, forced, compelled
perforce (adv.) 2 of necessity, with no choice in the matter See Topics: Frequency count

And they are landed. – Thus my tale is done:

We have untimely lost, and they have won.
untimely (adv.) 2 inopportunely, at a bad time


Then rests there nothing but with present speed
rest (v.) 2 remain [to be done], be left

To join our several forces all in one,
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

And bid them battle ere they range too far.
range (v.) 1 wander freely, roam, rove

Come, gentle Philip, let us hence depart.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

This soldier's words have pierced thy father's heart.


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