King Edward III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Charles of Normandy and Villiers
importune (v.) 2 beg [for], ask persistently [for]


I wonder, Villiers, thou shouldst importune me

For one that is our deadly enemy.


Not for his sake, my gracious lord, so much

Am I become an earnest advocate,

As that thereby my ransom will be quit.
quit (v.) 2 remit, release from


Thy ransom, man? Why need'st thou talk of that?

Art thou not free? And are not all occasions

That happen for advantage of our foes

To be accepted of and stood upon?
stand upon (v.) 2 make advantageous, profit from, make the most of


No, good my lord, except the same be just;

For profit must with honour be commixed,
commix (v.) mix together, mingle, combine

Or else our actions are but scandalous.

But, letting pass their intricate objections,

Will't please your highness to subscribe, or no?
subscribe (v.) 2 sign, endorse, support


Villiers, I will not nor I cannot do it;

Salisbury shall not have his will so much

To claim a passport how it pleaseth himself.


Why, then I know the extremity, my lord:
extremity (n.) 2 conclusion, outcome, very end

I must return to prison whence I came.


Return? I hope thou wilt not.

What bird that hath escaped the fowler's gin
gin (n.) snare, trap

Will not beware how she's ensnared again?

Or what is he, so senseless and secure,
secure (adj.) 2 over-confident, unsuspecting, too self-confident
senseless (adj.) 3 lacking in sense, stupid, foolish

That, having hardly passed a dangerous gulf,
hardly (adv.) 1 with great difficulty, only with difficulty

Will put himself in peril there again?


Ah, but it is mine oath, my gracious lord,

Which I in conscience may not violate,

Or else a kingdom should not draw me hence.


Thine oath? Why, that doth bind thee to abide.
abide (v.) 3 stay, remain, stop [in a position]

Hast thou not sworn obedience to thy prince?


In all things that uprightly he commands;
uprightly (adv.) in an upright way, justly, honourably

But either to persuade or threaten me

Not to perform the covenant of my word

Is lawless, and I need not to obey.


Why, is it lawful for a man to kill,

And not to break a promise with his foe?


To kill, my lord, when war is once proclaimed,

So that our quarrel be for wrongs received,

No doubt is lawfully permitted us;

But in an oath we must be well advised

How we do swear, and, when we once have sworn,

Not to infringe it, though we die therefor.

Therefore, my lord, as willing I return

As if I were to fly to paradise.


Stay, my Villiers; thine honourable mind

Deserves to be eternally admired.

Thy suit shall be no longer thus deferred:
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

Give me the paper; I'll subscribe to it;
subscribe to (v.) 3 sign, endorse, put one's name to

And wheretofore I loved thee as Villiers,

Hereafter I'll embrace thee as myself.

Stay, and be still in favour with thy lord.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count


I humbly thank your grace. I must dispatch
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly

And send this passport first unto the earl,

And then I will attend your highness' pleasure.
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]


Do so, Villiers – and Charles, when he hath need,

Be such his soldiers, howsoever he speed!
speed (v.) 3 survive, succeed, prosper

Exit Villiers

Enter King John


Come, Charles, and arm thee. Edward is entrapped,

The Prince of Wales is fall'n into our hands,

And we have compassed him; he cannot scape.
compass (v.) 3 surround, trap, ring in
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count


But will your highness fight today?


What else, my son? He's scarce eight thousand strong,

And we are threescore thousand at the least.


I have a prophecy, my gracious lord,

Wherein is written what success is like
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count
success (n.) 1 result, outcome, issue

To happen us in this outrageous war.
happen (v.) happen to, befall
outrageous (adj.) 1 excessively fierce, extremely violent

It was delivered me at Crécy's field
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

By one that is an aged hermit there.


‘ When feathered fowl shall make thine army tremble,

And flintstones rise and break the battle 'ray,

Then think on him that doth not now dissemble,
dissemble (v.) 2 deceive, disguise the truth, pretend

For that shall be the hapless dreadful day.
hapless (adj.) luckless, unfortunate, unlucky

Yet in the end thy foot thou shalt advance

As far in England as thy foe in France.’


By this it seems we shall be fortunate:

For, as it is impossible that stones

Should ever rise and break the battle 'ray,

Or airy fowl make men in arms to quake,

So is it like we shall not be subdued.
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

Or say this might be true; yet, in the end,

Since he doth promise we shall drive him hence

And forage their country as they have done ours,
forage (v.) 2 plunder, pillage, ravage

By this revenge that loss will seem the less.

But all are frivolous fancies, toys, and dreams:
fancy (n.) 5 imagining, flight of fancy, fanciful thought
toy (n.) 2 fancy, fantastic thought

Once we are sure we have ensnared the son,

Catch we the father after as we can.


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