Edward II/Act III

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Edward II by Christopher Marlowe
Act III

ACT THE THIRD[edit]

Act the Third, Scene I[edit]

[Enter GAVESTON mourning, JAMES, and other Attendants of PEMBROKE]

GAVESTON

O treacherous Warwick! thus to wrong thy friend.

JAMES

I see it is your life these arms pursue.

GAVESTON

Weaponless must I fall, and die in bands?
O! must this day be period of my life? 4
Centre of all my bliss! An ye be men,
Speed to the king.

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

My lord of Pembroke’s men,
Strive you no longer—I will have that Gaveston. 8

JAMES

Your lordship does dishonour to yourself,
And wrong our lord, your honourable friend.

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

No, James, it is my country’s cause I follow.
Go, take the villain; soldiers, come away. 12
We’ll make quick work. Commend me to your master,
My friend, and tell him that I watch’d it well.
Come, let thy shadow 1 parley with King Edward.

GAVESTON

Treacherous earl, shall I not see the king? 16

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

The king of Heaven, perhaps; no other king.
Away!

[Exeunt WARWICK and Soldiers with GAVESTON.] JAMES

Come, fellows, it booted not for us to strive,
We will in haste go certify our lord. Exeunt. 20


Act the Third, Scene II[edit]

[Enter KING EDWARD and (Young) SPENCER, BALDOCK, and Nobles of the KING’S side, and Soldiers with drums and fifes]

KING EDWARD

I long to hear an answer from the barons
Touching my friend, my dearest Gaveston.
Ah! Spencer, not the riches of my realm
Can ransom him! Ah, he is mark’d to die! 4
I know the malice of the younger Mortimer,
Warwick I know is rough, and Lancaster
Inexorable, and I shall never see
My lovely Pierce, my Gaveston again! 8
The barons overbear me with their pride.

YOUNG SPENCER

Were I King Edward, England’s sovereign,
Son to the lovely Eleanor of Spain,
Great Edward Longshanks’ issue, would I bear 12
These braves, this rage, and suffer uncontroll’d
These barons thus to beard me in my land,
In mine own realm? My lord, pardon my speech:
Did you retain your father’s magnanimity, 16
Did you regard the honour of your name,
You would not suffer thus your majesty
Be counterbuff’d of your nobility.
Strike off their heads, and let them preach on poles! 20
No doubt, such lessons they will teach the rest,
As by their preachments they will profit much,
And learn obedience to their lawful king.

KING EDWARD

Yea, gentle Spencer, we have been too mild, 24
Too kind to them; but now have drawn our sword,
And if they send me not my Gaveston,
We’ll steel it on their crest, and poll their tops.

BALDOCK

This haught resolve becomes your majesty, 28
Not to be tied to their affection,
As though your highness were a schoolboy still,
And must be aw’d and govern’d like a child.

[Enter the Elder SPENCER, with his truncheon and Soldiers]

ELDER SPENCER

Long live my sovereign, the noble Edward, 32
In peace triumphant, fortunate in wars!

KING EDWARD

Welcome, old man, com’st thou in Edward’s aid?
Then tell thy prince of whence, and what thou art.

ELDER SPENCER

Lo, with a band of bowmen and of pikes, 36
Brown bills and targeteers, four hundred strong,
Sworn to defend King Edward’s royal right,
I come in person to your majesty,
Spencer, the father of Hugh Spencer there, 40
Bound to your highness everlastingly,
For favour done, in him, unto us all.

KING EDWARD

Thy father, Spencer?

YOUNG SPENCER

True, an it like your grace, 44
That pours, in lieu of all your goodness shown,
His life, my lord, before your princely feet.

KING EDWARD

Welcome ten thousand times, old man, again.
Spencer, this love, this kindness to thy king, 48
Argues thy noble mind and disposition.
Spencer, I here create thee Earl of Wiltshire,
And daily will enrich thee with our favour,
That, as the sunshine, shall reflect o’er thee. 52
Beside, the more to manifest our love,
Because we hear Lord Bruce doth sell his land,
And that the Mortimers are in hand withal,
Thou shalt have crowns of us t’ outbid the barons: 56
And, Spencer, spare them not, but lay it on.
Soldiers, a largess, and thrice welcome all!

YOUNG SPENCER

My lord, here comes the queen.

[Enter QUEEN ISABELLA, and her son PRINCE EDWARD, and LEVUNE, a Frenchman]

KING EDWARD

Madam, what news? 60

QUEEN ISABELLA

News of dishonour, lord, and discontent.
Our friend Levune, faithful and full of trust,
Informeth us, by letters and by words,
That Lord Valois our brother, King of France, 64
Because your highness hath been slack in homage,
Hath seized Normandy into his hands.
These be the letters, this the messenger.

KING EDWARD

Welcome, Levune. Tush, Sib, if this be all 68
Valois and I will soon be friends again.—
But to my Gaveston; shall I never see,
Never behold thee now?—Madam, in this matter,
We will employ you and your little son; 72
You shall go parley with the King of France.—
Boy, see you bear you bravely to the king,
And do your message with a majesty.

PRINCE EDWARD

Commit not to my youth things of more weight 76
Than fits a prince so young as I to bear,
And fear not, lord and father, Heaven’s great beams
On Atlas’ shoulder shall not lie more safe,
Than shall your charge committed to my trust. 80

QUEEN ISABELLA

Ah, boy! this towardness makes thy mother fear
Thou art not mark’d to many days on earth.

KING EDWARD

Madam, we will that you with speed be shipp’d,
And this our son; Levune shall follow you 84
With all the haste we can despatch him hence.
Choose of our lords to bear you company,
And go in peace; leave us in wars at home.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Unnatural wars, where subjects brave their king; 88
God end them once! My lords, I take my leave,
To make my preparation for France.

[Exit with PRINCE EDWARD.]

[Enter ARUNDEL.]

KING EDWARD

What, Lord Arundel, dost thou come alone?

EARL OF ARUNDEL

Yea, my good lord, for Gaveston is dead. 92

KING EDWARD

Ah, traitors! have they put my friend to death?
Tell me, Arundel, died he ere thou cam’st,
Or didst thou see my friend to take his death?

EARL OF ARUNDEL

Neither, my lord; for as he was surpris’d, 96
Begirt with weapons and with enemies round,
I did your highness’ message to them all;
Demanding him of them, entreating rather,
And said, upon the honour of my name, 100
That I would undertake to carry him
Unto your highness, and to bring him back.

KING EDWARD

And tell me, would the rebels deny me that?

YOUNG SPENCER

Proud recreants! 104

KING EDWARD

Yea, Spencer, traitors all.

EARL OF ARUNDEL

I found them at the first inexorable;
The Earl of Warwick would not bide the hearing,
Mortimer hardly; Pembroke and Lancaster 108
Spake least: and when they flatly had denied,
Refusing to receive me pledge for him,
The Earl of Pembroke mildly thus bespake;
“My lords, because our sovereign sends for him, 112
And promiseth he shall be safe return’d,
I will this undertake, to have him hence,
And see him re-delivered to your hands.”

KING EDWARD

Well, and how fortunes [it] that he came not? 116

YOUNG SPENCER

Some treason, or some villainy, was the cause.

EARL OF ARUNDEL

The Earl of Warwick seiz’d him on his way;
For being delivered unto Pembroke’s men,
Their lord rode home thinking his prisoner safe; 120
But ere he came, Warwick in ambush lay,
And bare him to his death; and in a trench
Strake off his head, and march’d unto the camp.

YOUNG SPENCER

A bloody part, flatly ’gainst law of arms! 124

KING EDWARD

O shall I speak, or shall I sigh and die!

YOUNG SPENCER

My lord, refer your vengeance to the sword
Upon these barons; hearten up your men;
Let them not unreveng’d murder your friends! 128
Advance your standard, Edward, in the field,
And march to fire them from their starting holes.

KING EDWARD(Kneeling.)

By earth, the common mother of us all,
By Heaven, and all the moving orbs thereof, 132
By this right hand, and by my father’s sword,
And all the honours ’longing to my crown,
I will have heads, and lives for him, as many
As I have manors, castles, towns, and towers!— [Rises.] 136
Treacherous Warwick! traitorous Mortimer!
If it be England’s king, in lakes of gore
Your headless trunks, your bodies will I trail,
That you may drink your fill, and quaff in blood, 140
And stain my royal standard with the same,
That so my bloody colours may suggest
Remembrance of revenge immortally
On your accursed traitorous progeny, 144
You villains, that have slain my Gaveston!
And in this place of honour and of trust,
Spencer, sweet Spencer, I adopt thee here:
And merely of our love we do create thee 148
Earl of Gloucester, and Lord Chamberlain,
Despite of times, despite of enemies.

YOUNG SPENCER

My lord, here’s a messenger from the barons.
Desires access unto your majesty. 152

KING EDWARD

Admit him near.

[Enter the Herald, with his coat of arms]

HERALD

Long live King Edward, England’s lawful lord!

KING EDWARD

So wish not they, I wis, that sent thee hither.
Thou com’st from Mortimer and his ’complices, 156
A ranker rout of rebels never was.
Well, say thy message.

HERALD

The barons up in arms, by me salute
Your highness with long life and happiness; 160
And bid me say, as plainer to your grace,
That if without effusion of blood
You will this grief have ease and remedy,
That from your princely person you remove 164
This Spencer, as a putrifying brance,
That deads the royal vine, whose golden leaves
Empale your princely head, your diadem,
Whose brightness such pernicious upstarts dim, 168
Say they; and lovingly advise your grace,
To cherish virtue and nobility,
And have old servitors in high esteem,
And shake off smooth dissembling flatterers. 172
This granted, they, their honours, and their lives,
Are to your highness vow’d and consecrate.

YOUNG SPENCER

Ah, traitors! will they still display their pride?

KING EDWARD

Away, tarry no answer, but be gone! 176
Rebels, will they appoint their sovereign
His sports, his pleasures, and his company?
Yet, ere thou go, see how I do divorce

[Embraces SPENCER.]

Spencer from me.—Now get thee to thy lords, 180
And tell them I will come to chastise them
For murdering Gaveston; hie thee, get thee gone!
Edward with fire and sword follows at thy heels. [Exit Herald.]
My lords, perceive you how these rebels swell? 184
Soldiers, good hearts, defend your sovereign’s right,
For now, even now, we march to make them stoop.
Away!

[Exeunt. Alarums, excursions, a great fight, and a retreat (sounded, within)].


Act the Third, Scene III. Battlefield at Boroughbridge in Yorkshire[edit]

[Re-enter KING EDWARD, the Elder SPENCER, Young SPENCER, and Noblemen of the KING’S side]

KING EDWARD

Why do we sound retreat? Upon them, lords!
This day I shall pour vengeance with my sword
On those proud rebels that are up in arms
And do confront and countermand their king. 4

YOUNG SPENCER

I doubt it not, my lord, right will prevail.

ELDER SPENCER

’Tis not amiss, my liege, for either part
To breathe awhile; our men, with sweat and dust
All choked well near, begin to faint for heat; 8
And this retire refresheth horse and man.

YOUNG SPENCER

Here come the rebels.

[Enter Young MORTIMER, LANCASTER, WARWICK, PEMBROKE, and others.]

YOUNG MORTIMER

Look, Lancaster, yonder is Edward
Among his flatterers. 12

LANCASTER

And there let him be
Till he pay dearly for their company.

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

And shall, or Warwick’s sword shall smite in vain.

KING EDWARD

What, rebels, do you shrink and sound retreat? 16

YOUNG MORTIMER

No, Edward, no; thy flatterers faint and fly.

LANCASTER

They’d best betimes forsake thee, and their trains,
For they’ll betray thee, traitors as they are.

YOUNG SPENCER

Traitor on thy face, rebellious Lancaster! 20

PEMBROKE

Away, base upstart, bravest thou nobles thus?

ELDER SPENCER

A noble attempt and honourable deed,
Is it not, trow ye, to assemble aid,
And levy arms against your lawful king! 24

KING EDWARD

For which ere long their heads shall satisfy,
To appease the wrath of their offended king.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Then, Edward, thou wilt fight it to the last,
And rather bathe thy sword in subjects’ blood, 28
Than banish that pernicious company?

KING EDWARD

Ay, traitors all, rather than thus be brav’d,
Make England’s civil towns huge heaps of stones,
And ploughs to go about our palace-gates. 32

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

A desperate and unnatural resolution!
Alarum! To the fight!
St. George for England, and the barons’ right!

KING EDWARD

Saint George for England, and King Edward’s right! [Alarums. Exeunt the two parties severally.] 36


Act the Third, Scene IV[edit]

[Re-enter KING EDWARD (and his followers,) with the Barons [and KENT], captives]

KING EDWARD

Now, lusty lords, now, not by chance of war,
But justice of the quarrel and the cause,
Vail’d 1 is your pride; methinks you hang the heads,
But we’ll advance them, traitors. Now ’tis time 4
To be avenged on you for all your braves,
And for the murder of my dearest friend,
To whom right well you knew our soul was knit,
Good Pierce of Gaveston, my sweet favourite. 8
Ah, rebels! recreants! you made him away.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Brother, in regard of thee, and of thy land,
Did they remove that flatterer from thy throne.

KING EDWARD

So, sir, you have spoke; away, avoid our presence. 12

[Exit KENT.]

Accursed wretches, was’t in regard of us,
When we had sent our messenger to request
He might be spar’d to come to speak with us,
And Pembroke undertook for his return, 16
That thou, proud Warwick, watch’d the prisoner,
Poor Pierce, and headed him ’gainst law of arms?
For which thy head shall overlook the rest,
As much as thou in rage outwent’st the rest. 20

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

Tyrant, I scorn thy threats and menaces;
It is but temporal that thou canst inflict.

LANCASTER

The worst is death, and better die to live
Than live in infamy under such a king. 24

KING EDWARD

Away with them, my lord of Winchester!
These lusty leaders, Warwick and Lancaster,
I charge you roundly—off with both their heads!
Away! 28

GUY, EARL of WARWICK

Farewell, vain world!

LANCASTER

Sweet Mortimer, farewell.

YOUNG MORTIMER

England, unkind to thy nobility,
Groan for this grief, behold how thou art maim’d! 32

KING EDWARD

Go take that haughty Mortimer to the Tower,
There see him safe bestow’d; and for the rest,
Do speedy execution on them all.
Begone! 36

YOUNG MORTIMER

What, Mortimer! can ragged stony walls
Immure thy virtue that aspires to Heaven?
No, Edward, England’s scourage, it may not be;
Mortimer’s hope surmounts his fortune far. [The captive Barons are led off.] 40

KING EDWARD

Sound drums and trumpets! March with me, my friends,
Edward this day hath crown’d him king anew.

[Exeunt all except Young SPENCER, LEVUNE, and BALDOCK.]

YOUNG SPENCER

Levune, the trust that we repose in thee,
Begets the quiet of King Edward’s land. 44
Therefore begone in haste, and with advice
Bestow that treasure on the lords of France,
That, therewith all enchanted, like the guard
That suffered Jove to pass in showers of gold 48
To Danae, all aid may be denied
To Isabel, the queen, that now in France
Makes friends, to cross the seas with her young son,
And step into his father’s regiment. 2 52

LEVUNE

That’s it these barons and the subtle queen
Long levell’d at.

BALDOCK

Yea, but, Levune, thou seest
These barons lay their heads on blocks together; 56
What they intend, the hangman frustrates clean.

LEVUNE

Have you no doubt, my lords, I’ll clap so close
Among the lords of France with England’s gold,
That Isabel shall make her plaints in vain, 60
And France shall be obdurate with her tears.

YOUNG SPENCER

Then make for France, amain—Levune, away!
Proclaim King Edward’s wars and victories.

[Exeunt.]