King Edward III


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter two Frenchmen; a woman and two little children meet them, and other citizens


FIRST FRENCHMAN

Well met, my masters. How now, what's the news,

And wherefore are ye laden thus with stuff?

What, is it quarter day that you remove,
quarter day [day marking a quarter of the year, when house tenancies would change] removal day

And carry bag and baggage too?


FIRST CITIZEN

Quarter day? Ay, and quartering day, I fear.
quartering (adj.) for cutting into quarters, dismembering

Have ye not heard the news that flies abroad?


FIRST FRENCHMAN

What news?


SECOND CITIZEN

How the French navy is destroyed at sea,

And that the English army is arrived.


FIRST FRENCHMAN

What then?


FIRST CITIZEN

What then, quoth you? Why, is't not time to fly,
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

When envy and destruction is so nigh?
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity


FIRST FRENCHMAN

Content thee, man; they are far enough from hence,
content (v.) 2 calm [down], settle, relax

And will be met, I warrant ye, to their cost,
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

Before they break so far into the realm.


FIRST CITIZEN

Ay, so the grasshopper doth spend the time

In mirthful jollity till winter come,

And then too late he would redeem his time,
redeem (v.) 3 [of time lost] get back, buy back, make amends for

When frozen cold hath nipped his careless head.
careless (adj.) 4 negligent, improvident, neglectful

He that no sooner will provide a cloak

Than when he sees it doth begin to rain

May, peradventure, for his negligence,
peradventure (adv.) perhaps, maybe, very likely See Topics: Frequency count

Be throughly washed when he suspects it not.
throughly (adv.) thoroughly, fully, completely

We that have charge and such a train as this
train (n.) 2 set of dependents, group of people

Must look in time to look for them and us,
look for (v.) 3 be watchful for, look after

Lest, when we would, we cannot be relieved.


FIRST FRENCHMAN

Belike you then despair of ill success,
belike (adv.) probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems See Topics: Frequency count
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count
success (n.) 1 result, outcome, issue

And think your country will be subjugate.


SECOND CITIZEN

We cannot tell; 'tis good to fear the worst.


FIRST FRENCHMAN

Yet rather fight than, like unnatural sons,

Forsake your loving parents in distress.


FIRST CITIZEN

Tush, they that have already taken arms

Are many fearful millions, in respect
fearful (adj.) 2 causing fear, awe-inspiring, terrifying, alarming

Of that small handful of our enemies.

But 'tis a rightful quarrel must prevail:

Edward is son unto our late king's sister,

Where John Valois is three degrees removed.


WOMAN

Besides, there goes a prophecy abroad,

Published by one that was a friar once,

Whose oracles have many times proved true;

And now he says, the time will shortly come

Whenas a lion roused in the west
whenas, when as (conj.) 1 when, at the time when

Shall carry hence the fleur-de-lis of France.
fleur-de-lis, flower-de-luce (n.) heraldic lily [royal symbol of France]

These, I can tell ye, and such like surmises
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
surmise (n.) 1 idea, imagining, conjecture

Strike many Frenchmen cold unto the heart.

Enter a Frenchman


THIRD FRENCHMAN

Fly, countrymen and citizens of France!

Sweet flow'ring peace, the root of happy life,

Is quite abandoned and expulsed the land;
expulse (v.) expel, drive out, banish

Instead of whom, ransack-constraining war
ransack-constraining (adj.) that makes plundering unavoidable

Sits like to ravens upon your houses' tops;
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

Slaughter and mischief walk within your streets,
mischief (n.) 2 wicked action, evil deed, harmful scheme

And unrestrained make havoc as they pass,

The form whereof even now myself beheld

Upon this fair mountain whence I came.

For so far off as I direct'd mine eyes,

I might perceive five cities all on fire,

Cornfields and vineyards burning like an oven;

And as the leaking vapour in the wind
leaking (adj.) issuing forth, rising, surging

Turned but aside, I likewise might discern

The poor inhabitants, escaped the flame,

Fall numberless upon the soldiers' pikes.

Three ways these dreadful ministers of wrath

Do tread the measures of their tragic march:
measure (n.) 8 slow stately dance, graceful movement

Upon the right hand comes the conquering King,

Upon the left his hot unbridled son,

And in the midst our nation's glittering host;
host (n.) 1 army, armed multitude

All which, though distant, yet conspire in one

To leave a desolation where they come.

Fly therefore, citizens, if you be wise,

Seek out some habitation further off.

Here, if you stay, your wives will be abused,

Your treasure shared before your weeping eyes.

Shelter yourselves, for now the storm doth rise.

Away, away! Methinks I hear their drums. –
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Ah, wretched France, I greatly fear thy fall:

Thy glory shaketh like a tottering wall.

Exeunt

 
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