King Edward III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter King Edward and the Earl of Derby, with Soldiers, and Gobin de Grace


Where's the Frenchman by whose cunning guide

We found the shallow of this River Somme,
shallow (n.) shallow part

And had direction how to pass the sea?
sea (n.) river estuary


Here, my good lord.


How art thou called? Tell me thy name.


Gobin de Grace, if please your excellence.


Then, Gobin, for the service thou hast done,

We here enlarge and give thee liberty;
enlarge (v.) 1 release, set at large, discharge

And, for recompense beside this good,

Thou shalt receive five hundred marks in gold. –

I know not how we should have met our son,

Whom now in heart I wish I might behold.

Enter Artois
hard (adv.) 1 close, near


Good news, my lord; the Prince is hard at hand,

And with him comes Lord Audley and the rest,

Whom since our landing we could never meet.

Enter Prince Edward, Lord Audley, and Soldiers


Welcome, fair Prince! How hast thou sped, my son,

Since thy arrival on the coast of France?


Successfully, I thank the gracious heavens.

Some of their strongest cities we have won,

As Barfleur, Lo, Crotoy, and Carentan,

And others wasted, leaving at our heels
waste (v.) 4 lay waste, ravage, devastate

A wide apparent field and beaten path
apparent (adj.) 1 plainly visible, conspicuous, evident, obvious
field (n.) 4 wasteland, wilderness

For solitariness to progress in.

Yet those that would submit we kindly pardoned,

For who in scorn refused our proffered peace
for (conj.) 4 whereas

Endured the penalty of sharp revenge.


Ah, France, why should'st thou be this obstinate

Against the kind embracement of thy friends?
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug

How gently had we thought to touch thy breast

And set our foot upon thy tender mould,
mould (n.) 1 soil, earth, clay

But that in froward and disdainful pride
froward (adj.) 1 perverse, obstinate, wilful, ungovernable

Thou, like a skittish and untamed colt,

Dost start aside, and strike us with thy heels!

But tell me, Ned, in all thy warlike course
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

Hast thou not seen the usurping King of France?


Yes, my good lord, and not two hours ago,

With full a hundred thousand fighting men

Upon the one side of the river's bank,

And on the other, both his multitudes.

I feared he would have cropped our smaller power;
crop (v.) 1 cut down, remove, hack off
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

But happily, perceiving your approach,

He hath withdrawn himself to Crécy plains,

Where, as it seemeth by his good array,
array (n.) 2 readiness for combat, warlike state

He means to bid us battle presently.
presently (adv.) 2 after a short time, soon, before long


He shall be welcome; that's the thing we crave.
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require

Enter King John, the Dukes of Normandy and Lorraine, the King of Bohemia, young Philip, and Soldiers


Edward, know that John, the true King of France,

Musing thou shouldst encroach upon his land,
muse (v.) 4 complain, deplore, be astonished

And in thy tyrannous proceeding slay

His faithful subjects and subvert his towns,
subvert (v.) destroy, overthrow, raze

Spits in thy face; and in this manner following

Upbraids thee with thine arrogant intrusion:

First, I condemn thee for a fugitive,
fugitive (n.) 2 vagabond, vagrant, beggar

A thievish pirate, and a needy mate,
mate (n.) 2 fellow, individual
needy (adj.) 1 unworthy, deficient, inadequate

One that hath either no abiding place,

Or else, inhabiting some barren soil

Where neither herb or fruitful grain is had,

Dost altogether live by pilfering:
altogether (adv.) entirely, wholly, exclusively

Next, insomuch thou hast infringed thy faith,
insomuch (conj.) insofar as

Broke league and solemn covenant made with me,

I hold thee for a false pernicious wretch;
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

And, last of all, although I scorn to cope
cope, cope with (v.) 1 encounter, face, have to do [with], come into contact [with]

With one so much inferior to myself,

Yet, in respect thy thirst is all for gold,

Thy labour rather to be feared than loved,

To satisfy thy lust in either part

Here am I come, and with me have I brought

Exceeding store of treasure, pearl, and coin.
exceeding (adj.) very great, huge, exceptional

Leave therefore now to persecute the weak,

And armed ent'ring conflict with the armed.

Let it be seen, 'mongst other petty thefts,

How thou canst win this pillage manfully.


If gall or wormwood have a pleasant taste,
gall (n.) 1 bile [reputed for its bitterness]
wormwood (n.) 1 absinthe plant, known for its bitter taste

Then is thy salutation honey-sweet;

But as the one hath no such property,

So is the other most satirical.
satirical (adj.) ironic, ridiculous, incongruous

Yet wot how I regard thy worthless taunts:
wot (v.) 1 learn, know, be told See Topics: Frequency count

If thou have uttered them to foil my fame
foil (v.) 2 dishonour, demean, degrade

Or dim the reputation of my birth,

Know that thy wolvish barking cannot hurt;

If slyly to insinuate with the world
insinuate (v.) 3 spread subtly, convey with cunning

And with a strumpet's artificial line
line (n.) 7 stroke, paint, lines of makeup
strumpet (n.) harlot, prostitute, whore

To paint thy vicious and deformed cause,

Be well assured the counterfeit will fade,
counterfeit (n.) 1 false imitation, spurious image

And in the end thy foul defects be seen.

But if thou didst it to provoke me on,

As who should say I were but timorous,

Or, coldly negligent, did need a spur,

Bethink thyself how slack I was at sea,
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count

How since my landing I have won no towns,

Entered no further but upon thy coast,

And there have ever since securely slept.

But if I have been otherwise employed,

Imagine, Valois, whether I intend
imagine (v.) 1 guess, think, consider

To skirmish not for pillage, but for the crown

Which thou dost wear, and that I vow to have,

Or one of us shall fall into his grave.


Look not for cross invectives at our hands,
cross (adj.) 3 angry, ill-tempered, outraged

Or railing execrations of despite.
despite (n.) 1 contempt, scorn, disdain
execration (n.) curse, imprecation, denunciation
railing (adj.) abusive, derisive, haranguing

Let creeping serpents, hid in hollow banks,

Sting with their tongues; we have remorseless swords,

And they shall plead for us and our affairs.

Yet thus much, briefly, by my father's leave:

As all the immodest poison of thy throat
immodest (adj.) 1 arrogant, insolent, shameless

Is scandalous and most notorious lies,

And our pretended quarrel is truly just,
pretended (adj.) intended, purposed, proposed
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

So end the battle when we meet today:

May either of us prosper and prevail,

Or, luckless, cursed, receive eternal shame!


That needs no further question; and I know
question (n.) 5 questioning, interrogation, examination

His conscience witnesseth it is my right.

Therefore, Valois, say, wilt thou yet resign,

Before the sickle's thrust into the corn

Or that enkindled fury turn to flame?


Edward, I know what right thou hast in France;

And ere I basely will resign my crown
basely (adv.) dishonourably, shamefully, ignominiously

This champion field shall be a pool of blood,
champion (adj.) flat and open, like a plain
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

And all our prospect as a slaughterhouse.
prospect (n.) field of view, vista, outlook


Ay, that approves thee, tyrant, what thou art:
approve (v.) 1 prove, confirm, corroborate, substantiate

No father, king, or shepherd of thy realm,

But one, that tears her entrails with thy hands,

And, like a thirsty tiger, suck'st her blood.


You peers of France, why do you follow him

That is so prodigal to spend your lives?
prodigal (adj.) 1 wastefully lavish, foolishly extravagant


Whom should they follow, aged impotent,

But he that is their true-born sovereign?


Upbraid'st thou him, because within his face

Time hath engraved deep characters of age?
character (n.) 1 distinctive sign, stamp, trait

Know that these grave scholars of experience,
grave (adj.) 1 respected, revered, wise

Like stiff-grown oaks, will stand immovable

When whirlwind quickly turns up younger trees.


Was ever any of thy father's house

King, but thyself, before this present time?

Edward's great lineage, by the mother's side,

Five hundred years has held the sceptre up.

Judge then, conspirators, by this descent,

Which is the true-born sovereign, this, or that.


Father, range your battles, prate no more.
battle (n.) 2 battle array, war formation, ranks of soldiers
prate (v.) prattle, chatter, blather See Topics: Frequency count

These English fain would spend the time in words,
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

That, night approaching, they might escape unfought.
unfought (adj.) without being met in battle


Lords and my loving subjects, now's the time

That your intended force must bide the touch.
bide (v.) 2 face, await, undergo
intended (adj.) extended, enlarged, increased in power
touch (n.) 6 touchstone, test, proof

Therefore, my friends, consider this in brief:

He that you fight for is your natural king,

He against whom you fight, a foreigner;

He that you fight for, rules in clemency,

And reins you with a mild and gentle bit;
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

He against whom you fight, if he prevail,

Will straight enthrone himself in tyranny,
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Makes slaves of you, and with a heavy hand

Curtail and curb your sweetest liberty.

Then, to protect your country and your king,

Let but the haughty courage of your hearts

Answer the number of your able hands,
answer (v.) 11 act along with, sustain, respond to

And we shall quickly chase these fugitives.
fugitive (n.) 2 vagabond, vagrant, beggar

For what's this Edward but a belly god,
belly-god (n.) someone who makes a god of his belly, guzzler

A tender and lascivious wantonness,
wantonness (n.) 2 libertine, seducer, womanizer

That th' other day was almost dead for love?

And what, I pray you, is his goodly guard?

Such as, but scant them of their chines of beef,
chine (n.) 1 [of meat] joint, portion, piece
scant (v.) 4 deprive, deny, dispossess

And take away their downy featherbeds,

And presently they are as resty-stiff
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count
resty-stiff (adj.) stiff because too rested, sluggish

As 'twere a many overridden jades.
jade (n.) 1 worn-out horse, hack, worthless nag
overridden (adj.) ridden too hard, exhausted after too much riding

Then, Frenchmen, scorn that such should be your lords,

And rather bind ye them in captive bands.
band (n.) 5 bond, shackle, chain
captive (adj.) imprisoning, confining, incarcerating


Vive le roi! God save King John of France!


Now on this plain of Crécy spread yourselves –

And, Edward, when thou dar'st, begin the fight.

Exeunt King John, Charles, Philip, Lorraine, Bohemia, and Soldiers


We presently will meet thee, John of France. –
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

And, English lords, let us resolve the day,
day (n.) 1 day of battle, contest
resolve (v.) 6 decide, determine, settle

Either to clear us of that scandalous crime,
crime (n.) 2 accusation, charge, denunciation
scandalous (adj.) 2 defamatory, libellous, slanderous

Or be entombed in our innocence.
entomb (v.) lay in a tomb, bury, inter
innocency (n.) innocence

And, Ned, because this battle is the first

That ever yet thou fought'st in pitched field,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count
pitched (adj.) strategically planned, made ready for combat

As ancient custom is of martialists,
martialist (n.) soldier, military man [i.e. follower of Mars]

To dub thee with the type of chivalry,
type (n.) 2 emblem, symbol, insignia

In solemn manner we will give thee arms.

Come, therefore, heralds, orderly bring forth

A strong attirement for the Prince my son.
attirement (n.) outfit, clothing, garment

Enter four Heralds, bringing in a coat of armour, a helmet, a lance, and a shield


Edward Plantagenet, in the name of God,

As with this armour I impall thy breast,
impall (v.) enfold, wrap in [as if with a pall = robe]

So be thy noble unrelenting heart

Walled in with flint and matchless fortitude,
flint (n.) 1 type of hard stone, flintstone

That never base affections enter there.
affection (n.) 2 emotion, feeling
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count

Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com'st! –

Now follow, lords, and do him honour too.


Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales,

As I do set this helmet on thy head,

Wherewith the chamber of thy brain is fenced,

So may thy temples, with Bellona's hand,

Be still adorned with laurel victory.
laurel (adj.) 2 renowned, famed
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com'st!


Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales,

Receive this lance into thy manly hand;

Use it in fashion of a brazen pen

To draw forth bloody stratagems in France
stratagem (n.) 2 soldierly action, well commanded engagement

And print thy valiant deeds in honour's book.

Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com'st!


Edward Plantagenet, Prince of Wales,

Hold, take this target, wear it on thy arm,
target (n.) light round shield See Topics: Weapons

And may the view thereof, like Perseus' shield,

Astonish and transform thy gazing foes

To senseless images of meagre death.
image (n.) 1 embodiment, instance, form
meagre (adj.) 1 lean, gaunt, emaciated
senseless (adj.) 2 unconscious, insensible, oblivious

Fight and be valiant, conquer where thou com'st!


Now wants there nought but knighthood, which deferred
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

We leave till thou hast won it in the field.
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count


My gracious father, and ye forward peers,
forward (adj.) 5 chief, foremost, leading

This honour you have done me animates

And cheers my green yet scarce-appearing strength

With comfortable good-presaging signs,
good-presaging (adj.) favourable, propitious, auspicious

No otherwise than did old Jacob's words,

Whenas he breathed his blessings on his sons.

These hallowed gifts of yours when I profane,

Or use them not to glory of my God,

To patronage the fatherless and poor,
patronage (v.) protect, uphold, defend

Or for the benefit of England's peace,

Be numb, my joints, wax feeble, both mine arms,

Wither, my heart, that like a sapless tree

I may remain the map of infamy.
map (n.) 2 epitome, embodiment, incarnation


Then thus our steeled battles shall be ranged:
battle (n.) 2 battle array, war formation, ranks of soldiers
steeled (adj.) 2 steel-clad, armed with steel

The leading of the vaward, Ned, is thine,
vaward (n.) 1 [military] vanguard, foremost division

To dignify whose lusty spirit the more,
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager

We temper it with Audly's gravity,

That, courage and experience joined in one,

Your manage may be second unto none.
manage (n.) 1 management, handling, control [especially of a horse, as a result of training]

For the main battles, I will guide myself,
battle (n.) 1 army, fighting force, battalion

And Derby in the rearward march behind.

That orderly disposed and set in 'ray,
array (n.) 2 readiness for combat, warlike state

Let us to horse, and God grant us the day!


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