Flourish. Enter King Edward, Derby, Prince Edward, Audley, Warwick, and Artois
Robert of Artois, banished though thou be
From France thy native country, yet with us
Thou shalt retain as great a seigniory,
For we create thee Earl of Richmond here.
And now go forward with our pedigree:
Who next succeeded Phillip le Beau?
Three sons of his, which all successively
Did sit upon their father's regal throne,
Yet died and left no issue of their loins.
But was my mother sister unto those?
She was, my lord, and only Isabel
Was all the daughters that this Phillip had,
Whom afterward your father took to wife;
And from the fragrant garden of her womb
Your gracious self, the flower of Europe's hope,
Derived is inheritor to France.
But note the rancour of rebellious minds:
When thus the lineage of le Beau was out,
The French obscured your mother's privilege,
And, though she were the next of blood, proclaimed
John of the house of Valois now their king.
The reason was, they say, the realm of France,
Replete with princes of great parentage,
Ought not admit a governor to rule
Except he be descended of the male;
And that's the special ground of their contempt
Wherewith they study to exclude your grace.
But they shall find that forged ground of theirs
To be but dusty heaps of brittle sand.
Perhaps it will be thought a heinous thing
That I, a Frenchman, should discover this;
But heaven I call to record of my vows:
It is not hate nor any private wrong,
But love unto my country and the right
Provokes my tongue, thus lavish in report.
You are the lineal watchman of our peace,
And John of Valois indirectly climbs.
What then should subjects but embrace their king?
Ah, wherein may our duty more be seen
Than striving to rebate a tyrant's pride
And place the true shepherd of our commonwealth?
This counsel, Artois, like to fruitful showers,
Hath added growth unto my dignity;
And, by the fiery vigour of thy words,
Hot courage is engendered in my breast,
Which heretofore was racked in ignorance,
But now doth mount with golden wings of fame,
And will approve fair Isabel's descent,
Able to yoke their stubborn necks with steel
That spurn against my sovereignty in France.
Sound a horn
A messenger. – Lord Audley, know from whence.
Exit Audley, and returns
The Duke of Lorraine, having crossed the seas,
Entreats he may have conference with your highness.
Admit him, lords, that we may hear the news.
Exeunt Lords. King takes his State.
Re-enter Lords, with Lorraine, attended
Say, Duke of Lorraine, wherefore art thou come?
The most renowned prince, King John of France,
Doth greet thee, Edward, and by me commands
That, for so much as by his liberal gift
The Guyen dukedom is entailed to thee,
Thou do him lowly homage for the same.
And for that purpose here I summon thee
Repair to France within these forty days,
That there, according as the custom is,
Thou mayst be sworn true liegeman to our king;
Or else thy title in that province dies,
And he himself will repossess the place.
See how occasion laughs me in the face!
No sooner minded to prepare for France,
But straight I am invited – nay, with threats,
Upon a penalty enjoined to come.
'Twere but a childish part to say him nay. –
Lorraine, return this answer to thy lord:
I mean to visit him as he requests.
But how? Not servilely disposed to bend,
But like a conqueror to make him bow.
His lame unpolished shifts are come to light;
And truth hath pulled the vizard from his face,
That set a gloss upon his arrogance.
Dare he command a fealty in me?
[feudal obligation of obedience] duty of loyalty, allegiance, fidelity
Tell him: the crown that he usurps is mine,
And where he sets his foot he ought to kneel.
'Tis not a petty dukedom that I claim,
But all the whole dominions of the realm,
Which if with grudging he refuse to yield,
I'll take away those borrowed plumes of his,
And send him naked to the wilderness.
Then, Edward, here, in spite of all thy lords,
I do pronounce defiance to thy face.
Defiance, Frenchman? We rebound it back,
Even to the bottom of thy master's throat.
And, be it spoke with reverence of the King,
My gracious father, and these other lords,
I hold thy message but as scurrilous,
And him that sent thee like the lazy drone
Crept up by stealth unto the eagle's nest,
From whence we'll shake him with so rough a storm
As others shall be warned by his harm.
Bid him leave off the lion's case he wears,
Lest, meeting with the lion in the field,
He chance to tear him piecemeal for his pride.
The soundest counsel I can give his grace
Is to surrender ere he be constrained.
A voluntary mischief hath less scorn
Than when reproach with violence is borne.
Regenerate traitor, viper to the place
Where thou wast fostered in thine infancy!
Bear'st thou a part in this conspiracy?
He draws his sword
(drawing his sword) Lorraine, behold the sharpness of this steel.
Fervent desire that sits against my heart
Is far more thorny-pricking than this blade;
That, with the nightingale, I shall be scarred
As oft as I dispose myself to rest
Until my colours be displayed in France.
This is my final answer; so be gone.
It is not that, nor any English brave,
Afflicts me so, as doth his poisoned view.
That is most false, should most of all be true.
Now, Lords, our fleeting bark is under sail;
Our gage is thrown, and war is soon begun,
pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]
But not so quickly brought unto an end.
But wherefore comes Sir William Montague?
How stands the league between the Scot and us?
Cracked and dissevered, my renowned lord.
The treacherous King no sooner was informed
Of your withdrawing of your army back,
But straight, forgetting of his former oath,
He made invasion of the bordering towns.
Berwick is won, Newcastle spoiled and lost,
And now the tyrant hath begirt with siege
The castle of Roxborough, where enclosed
The Countess Salisbury is like to perish.
That is thy daughter, Warwick, is it not.
Whose husband hath in Brittayne served so long
About the planting of Lord Mountford there?
It is, my lord.
Ignoble David! Hast thou none to grieve
But silly ladies with thy threat'ning arms?
But I will make you shrink your snaily horns.
First, therefore, Audley, this shall be thy charge:
Go levy footmen for our wars in France;
And Ned, take muster of our men at arms;
In every shire elect a several band;
Let them be soldiers of a lusty spirit,
Such as dread nothing but dishonour's blot;
Be wary, therefore, since we do commence
A famous war, and with so mighty a nation.
Derby, be thou ambassador for us
Unto our father-in-law, the Earl of Hainault:
Make him acquainted with our enterprise,
And likewise will him, with our own allies
That are in Flanders, to solicit too
The Emperor of Almaigne in our name.
Myself, whilst you are jointly thus employed,
Will, with these forces that I have at hand,
March, and once more repulse the traitorous Scot.
But sirs, be resolute: we shall have wars
On every side; and, Ned, thou must begin
Now to forget thy study and thy books,
And ure thy shoulders to an armour's weight.
As cheerful sounding to my youthful spleen
This tumult is of war's increasing broils,
As, at the coronation of a king,
The joyful clamours of the people are,
When Ave, Caesar! they pronounce aloud.
Within this school of honour I shall learn
Either to sacrifice my foes to death,
Or in a rightful quarrel spend my breath.
Then cheerfully forward, each a several way;
In great affairs 'tis naught to use delay.