King Edward III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter King Edward, Queen Philippa, Derby, Soldiers


No more, Queen Philippe, pacify yourself.

Copland, except he can excuse his fault,

Shall find displeasure written in our looks.

And now unto this proud resisting town.

Soldiers, assault! I will no longer stay

To be deluded by their false delays.
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial

Put all to sword, and make the spoil your own.
spoil (n.) 2 plunder, booty

Enter six Citizens in their shirts, barefoot, with halters about their necks


Mercy, King Edward, mercy, gracious lord!


Contemptuous villains, call ye now for truce?

Mine ears are stopped against your bootless cries.
bootless (adj.) useless, worthless, fruitless, unavailing

Sound drums' alarum; draw threat'ning swords!
alarm, alarum, 'larm, 'larum (n.) 1 call to arms, call to battle, signal to begin fighting See Topics: Stage directions


Ah, noble prince, take pity on this town,

And hear us, mighty King.

We claim the promise that your highness made:

The two days' respite is not yet expired,

And we are come with willingness to bear

What torturing death or punishment you please,

So that the trembling multitude be saved.


My promise? Well, I do confess as much;

But I require the chiefest citizens

And men of most account that should submit.

You, peradventure, are but servile grooms,
groom (n.) 2 fellow, character, creature
peradventure (adv.) perhaps, maybe, very likely See Topics: Frequency count

Or some felonious robbers on the sea,

Whom, apprehended, law would execute,

Albeit severity lay dead in us.

No, no, you cannot overreach us thus.


The sun, dread Lord, that in the western fall
fall (n.) 4 setting, closing [of the day]

Beholds us now low brought through misery,

Did in the orient purple of the morn
morn (n.) morning, dawn See Topics: Frequency count
orient (adj.) 2 eastern; sunrise, dawn

Salute our coming forth when we were known;

Or may our portion be with damned fiends.
portion (n.) 2 lot, destiny, fortune


If it be so, then let our covenant stand:

We take possession of the town in peace.

But for yourselves, look you for no remorse,
remorse (n.) 2 pity, compassion, tenderness

But, as imperial justice hath decreed,

Your bodies shall be dragged about these walls,

And after, feel the stroke of quartering steel.
quartering (adj.) for cutting into quarters, dismembering

This is your doom. Go, soldiers, see it done.


Ah, be more mild unto these yielding men!

It is a glorious thing to stablish peace,

And kings approach the nearest unto God

By giving life and safety unto men.

As thou intendest to be king of France,

So let her people live to call thee king,

For what the sword cuts down or fire hath spoiled

Is held in reputation none of ours.


Although experience teach us this is true,

That a peaceful quietness brings most delight,

When most of all abuses are controlled,
abuse (n.) 2 offence, wrong, insult, transgression
control (v.) 1 curb, restrain, hold back

Yet, insomuch it shall be known that we

As well can master our affections
affection (n.) 2 emotion, feeling

As conquer other by the dint of sword,
dint (n.) 2 stroke, blow, attack

Philippe, prevail: we yield to thy request.

These men shall live to boast of clemency,

And, Tyranny, strike terror to thyself.


Long live your highness! Happy be your reign!


Go, get you hence, return unto the town;

And if this kindness hath deserved your love,

Learn then to reverence Edward as your king.

Exeunt Citizens

Now might we hear of our affairs abroad.

We would, till gloomy winter were o'erspent,
overspent (adj.) spent, finished, at an end

Dispose our men in garrison a while. –
dispose (v.) 1 place, distribute, organize

But who comes here?

Enter Copland and King David


Copland, my lord, and David, King of Scots.


Is this the proud presumptuous esquire of the north

That would not yield his prisoner to my Queen?


I am, my liege, a northern squire indeed,

But neither proud nor insolent, I trust.


What moved thee, then, to be so obstinate

To contradict our royal Queen's desire?


No wilful disobedience, mighty lord,

But my desert and public law of arms.
desert, desart (n.) 1 deserving, due recompense, right
public (adj.) accepted, authorized, official

I took the king myself in single fight,

And, like a soldier, would be loath to lose

The least pre-eminence that I had won.

And Copland, straight upon your highness' charge,
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Is come to France, and with a lowly mind
lowly (adj.) 1 humble, modest, submissive

Doth vail the bonnet of his victory.
bonnet (n.) hat, cap See Topics: Clothing
vail (v.) 1 lower, bow down, cast down [as in submission]

Receive, dread lord, the custom of my fraught,
custom (n.) 2 customary tribute [as if by a tenant to a lord]
fraught (n.) 1 freight, cargo, goods

The wealthy tribute of my labouring hands,

Which should long since have been surrendered up,

Had but your gracious self been there in place.
place, in present, attending, at hand


But, Copland, thou didst scorn the King's command,

Neglecting our commission in his name.


His name I reverence, but his person more.

His name shall keep me in allegiance still,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

But to his person I will bend my knee.


I pray thee, Philippe, let displeasure pass.

This man doth please me, and I like his words;

For what is he that will attempt great deeds

And lose the glory that ensues the same?
ensue (v.) 1 follow [especially, as a logical outcome]

All rivers have recourse unto the sea,

And Copland's faith, relation to his king.

Kneel therefore down: now rise, King Edward's knight;

And, to maintain thy state, I freely give

Five hundred marks a year to thee and thine.

Enter Salisbury

Welcome, Lord Salisbury. What news from Brittaine?


This, mighty King: the country we have won,

And Charles de Mountford, regent of that place,

Presents your highness with this coronet,

Protesting true allegiance to your grace.


We thank thee for thy service, valiant earl:

Challenge our favour, for we owe it thee.


But now, my lord, as this is joyful news,

So must my voice be tragical again,

And I must sing of doleful accidents.


What, have our men the overthrow at Poitiers,

Or is our son beset with too much odds?


He was, my lord; and as my worthless self

With forty other serviceable knights,
serviceable (adj.) 1 faithful, loyal, devoted, ready to serve

Under safe-conduct of the dauphin's seal,

Did travel that way, finding him distressed,

A troop of lances met us on the way,
lance (n.) lancer, horse soldier armed with a lance

Surprised, and brought us prisoners to the king,

Who, proud of this and eager of revenge,

Commanded straight to cut off all our heads;
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

And surely we had died, but that the duke,

More full of honour than his angry sire,
sire (n.) father

Procured our quick deliverance from thence.

But, ere we went, ‘ Salute your king,’ quoth he,
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

‘ Bid him provide a funeral for his son.

Today our sword shall cut his thread of life,

And, sooner than he thinks, we'll be with him,

To quittance those displeasures he hath done.’
displeasure (n.) 1 injury, wrong, hurt
quittance (v.) repay, requite, reciprocate

This said, we passed, not daring to reply.

Our hearts were dead, our looks diffused and wan.
diffused (adj.) 2 troubled, confused, bewildered

Wandering, at last we climbed unto a hill,

From whence, although our grief were much before,

Yet now, to see the occasion with our eyes
occasion (n.) 4 course of events, state of affairs

Did thrice so much increase our heaviness.
heaviness (n.) 1 sadness, grief, sorrow

For there, my lord, oh, there we did descry
descry (v.) 1 catch sight of, make out, espy, discover

Down in a valley how both armies lay:

The French had cast their trenches like a ring,

And every barricado's open front
barricado (n.) barricade, rampart, barrier

Was thick embossed with brazen ordinance.
brazen (adj.) 2 made of brass, very strong, powerful
embossed (adj.) 4 covered as if with ornamental studs
ordnance, ordinance (n.) cannon, artillery

Here stood a battle of ten thousand horse;
battle (n.) 1 army, fighting force, battalion
horse (n.) cavalry, horse soldiers

There, twice as many pikes in quadrant wise;
wise (n.) manner, way, fashion

Here crossbows and deadly wounding darts;
dart (n.) arrow; or: light spear

And in the midst, like to a slender point
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with

Within the compass of the horizon,
compass (n.) 1 range, reach, limit, scope

As 'twere a rising bubble in the sea,

A hazel wand amidst a wood of pines,

Or as a bear fast chained unto a stake,

Stood famous Edward, still expecting when
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]

Those dogs of France would fasten on his flesh.

Anon the death-procuring knell begins:
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count
death-procuring (adj.) fatal, lethal, deadly

Off go the cannons, that with trembling noise

Did shake the very mountain where they stood;

Then sound the trumpets' clangor in the air;

The battles join, and, when we could no more
battle (n.) 1 army, fighting force, battalion

Discern the difference 'twixt the friend and foe,

So intricate the dark confusion was,

Away we turned our wat'ry eyes with sighs

As black as powder fuming into smoke.

And thus, I fear, unhappy have I told

The most untimely tale of Edward's fall.
untimely (adj.) premature, coming before its time


Ah me, is this my welcome into France?

Is this the comfort that I looked to have,

When I should meet with my beloved son?

Sweet Ned, I would thy mother in the sea

Had been prevented of this mortal grief!
prevent (v.) 5 spare, able to avoid


Content thee, Philippe; 'tis not tears will serve
content (v.) 2 calm [down], settle, relax

To call him back, if he be taken hence.

Comfort thyself, as I do, gentle Queen,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

With hope of sharp unheard-of dire revenge.

He bids me to provide his funeral,

And so I will; but all the peers in France

Shall mourners be, and weep out bloody tears

Until their empty veins be dry and sere.
sere (adj.) dried up, withered, parched

The pillars of his hearse shall be their bones;

The mould that covers him, their city ashes;
mould (n.) 1 soil, earth, clay

His knell, the groaning cries of dying men;

And in the stead of tapers on his tomb

An hundred fifty towers shall burning blaze,

While we bewail our valiant son's decease.

After a flourish sounded within, enter a Herald


Rejoice, my lord! Ascend the imperial throne!

The mighty and redoubted Prince of Wales,
redoubted (adj.) feared, dreaded, revered

Great servitor to bloody Mars in arms,
servitor (n.) 2 mercenary, soldier

The Frenchman's terror and his country's fame,

Triumphant rideth like a Roman peer,

And, lowly at his stirrup, comes afoot

King John of France, together with his son,

In captive bonds; whose diadem he brings

To crown thee with, and to proclaim thee king.


Away with mourning, Philippe, wipe thine eyes!

Sound, trumpets, welcome in Plantagenet!

Enter Prince Edward, King John, Philip, Audley, and Artois

As things long lost when they are found again,

So doth my son rejoice his father's heart,
rejoice (v.) gladden, cheer, make joyful

For whom even now my soul was much perplexed.
perplexed (adj.) 1 troubled, disturbed, worried


Be this a token to express my joy,

(Kisses him)

For inward passion will not let me speak.


My gracious father, here receive the gift,

This wreath of conquest and reward of war,

Got with as mickle peril of our lives
mickle (adj.) great, much, large

As e'er was thing of price before this day.

Install your highness in your proper right,

And herewithal I render to your hands

These prisoners, chief occasion of our strife.
occasion (n.) 2 ground, reason, cause, matter


So, John of France, I see you keep your word:

You promised to be sooner with ourself

Than we did think for, and 'tis so indeed.

But, had you done at first as now you do,

How many civil towns had stood untouched

That now are turned to ragged heaps of stones.
ragged (adj.) 2 broken, jagged, fragmented

How many people's lives mightst thou have saved

That are untimely sunk into their graves.
untimely (adv.) 1 prematurely, too soon, before due time


Edward, recount not things irrevocable.

Tell me what ransom thou requir'st to have.


Thy ransom, John, hereafter shall be known.

But first to England thou must cross the seas,

To see what entertainment it affords.
entertainment (n.) 1 treatment, hospitality, reception

Howe'er it falls, it cannot be so bad
fall (v.) 4 work out, happen, turn out

As ours hath been since we arrived in France.


Accursed man! Of this I was foretold,

But did misconster what the prophet told.
misconster (v.) misconstrue, misinterpret, take wrongly


Now, father, this petition Edward makes

To thee, whose grace hath been his strongest shield:

That, as thy pleasure chose me for the man

To be the instrument to show thy power,
power (n.) 3 authority, government

So thou wilt grant that many princes more,

Bred and brought up within that little isle,

May still be famous for like victories.
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

And for my part, the bloody scars I bear,
scar (n.) wound, cut, injury

And weary nights that I have watched in field,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

The dangerous conflicts I have often had,

The fearful menaces were proffered me,

The heat and cold and what else might displease,

I wish were now redoubled twentyfold,

So that hereafter ages, when they read
hereafter (adj.) future, forthcoming, later

The painful traffic of my tender youth,
painful (adj.) 2 suffering from pain, causing hurt
traffic (n.) 2 dealings, employment, business

Might thereby be inflamed with such resolve,

As not the territories of France alone,

But likewise Spain, Turkey, and what countries else

That justly would provoke fair England's ire

Might at their presence tremble and retire.


Here, English lords, we do proclaim a rest,

An intercession of our painful arms.
intercession (n.) 2 break, interlude, intermission
painful (adj.) 3 inflicting pain, harmful, afflicting

Sheathe up your swords, refresh your weary limbs,

Peruse your spoils; and after we have breathed
breathe (v.) 2 catch breath, pause, rest

A day or two within this haven town,

God willing, then for England we'll be shipped;

Where, in a happy hour, I trust, we shall

Arrive, three kings, two princes, and a queen.


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