Edward II/Act V

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Edward II by Christopher Marlowe
Act IV

ACT THE FIFTH[edit]

Act the Fifth, Scene I. A room in Kenilworth Castle[edit]

[Enter KING EDWARD, LEICESTER, the BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, and TRUSSEL.]

LEICESTER

Be patient, good my lord, cease to lament.
Imagine Killingworth Castle were your court,
And that you lay for pleasure here a space,
Not of compulsion or necessity. 4

KING EDWARD

Leicester, if gentle words might comfort me,
Thy speeches long ago had eas’d my sorrows;
For kind and loving hast thou always been.
The griefs of private men are soon allay’d, 8
But not of kings. The forest deer, being struck,
Runs to an herb that closeth up the wounds;
But, when the imperial lion’s flesh is gored,
He rends and tears it with his wrathful paw, 12
And highly scorning that the lowly earth
Should drink his blood, mounts up into the air.
And so it fares with me, whose dauntless mind
The ambitious Mortimer would seek to curb, 16
And that unnatural queen, false Isabel,
That thus hath pent and mew’d me in a prison;
For such outrageous passions cloy my soul,
As with the wings of rancour and disdain, 20
Full often am I soaring up to Heaven,
To plain me to the gods against them both.
But when I call to mind I am a king,
Methinks I should revenge me of my wrongs, 24
That Mortimer and Isabel have done.
But what are kings, when regiment 1 is gone,
But perfect shadows in a sunshine day?
My nobles rule, I bear the name of king; 28
I wear the crown, but am controll’d by them,
By Mortimer, and my unconstant queen,
Who spots my nuptial bed with infamy;
Whilst I am lodg’d within this cave of care, 32
Where sorrow at my elbow still attends,
To company my heart with sad laments,
That bleeds within me for this strange exchange.
But tell me, must I now resign my crown, 36
To make usurping Mortimer a king?

BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

Your grace mistakes; it is for England’s good,
And princely Edward’s right we crave the crown.

KING EDWARD

No, ’tis for Mortimer, not Edward’s head; 40
For he’s a lamb, encompassed by wolves,
Which in a moment will abridge his life.
But if proud Mortimer do wear this crown,
Heavens turn it to a blaze of quenchless fire! 44
Or like the snaky wreath of Tisiphon,
Engirt the temples of his hateful head;
So shall not England’s vine be perished,
But Edward’s name survives, though Edward dies. 48

LEICESTER

My lord, why waste you thus the time away?
They stay your answer; will you yield your crown?

KING EDWARD

Ah, Leicester, weigh how hardly I can brook
To lose my crown and kingdom without cause; 52
To give ambitious Mortimer my right,
That like a mountain overwhelms my bliss,
In which extreme my mind here murdered is.
But what the heavens appoint, I must obey! 56
Here, take my crown; the life of Edward too; [Taking off the crown.]
Two kings in England cannot reign at once.
But stay awhile, let me be king till night,
That I may gaze upon this glittering crown; 60
So shall my eyes receive their last content,
My head, the latest honour due to it,
And jointly both yield up their wished right.
Continue ever thou celestial sun; 64
Let never silent night possess this clime:
Stand still you watches of the element;
All times and seasons, rest you at a stay,
That Edward may be still fair England’s king! 68
But day’s bright beam doth vanish fast away,
And needs I must resign my wished crown.
Inhuman creatures! nurs’d with tiger’s milk!
Why gape you for your sovereign’s overthrow! 72
My diadem I mean, and guiltless life.
See, monsters, see, I’ll wear my crown again! [He puts on the crown.]
What, fear you not the fury of your king?
But, hapless Edward, thou art fondly 2 led; 76
They pass 3 not for thy frowns as late they did,
But seek to make a new-elected king;
Which fills my mind with strange despairing thoughts,
Which thoughts are martyred with endless torments, 80
And in this torment comfort find I none,
But that I feel the crown upon my head;
And therefore let me wear it yet awhile.

TRUSSEL

My lord, the parliament must have present news, 84
And therefore say, will you resign or no?

[The KING rageth.] KING EDWARD

I’ll not resign, but whilst I live be king.
Traitors, be gone and join with Mortimer!
Elect, conspire, install, do what you will:— 88
Their blood and yours shall seal these treacheries!

BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

This answer we’ll return, and so farewell.

[Going with TRUSSEL.] LEICESTER

Call them again, my lord, and speak them fair;
For if they go, the prince shall lose his right. 92

KING EDWARD

Call thou them back, I have no power to speak.

LEICESTER

My lord, the king is willing to resign.

BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

If he be not, let him choose.

KING EDWARD

O would I might, but heavens and earth conspire 96
To make me miserable! Here receive my crown;
Receive it? No, these innocent hands of mine
Shall not be guilty of so foul a crime.
He of you all that most desires my blood, 100
And will be called the murderer of a king,
Take it. What, are you moved? Pity you me?
Then send for unrelenting Mortimer,
And Isabel, whose eyes, being turned to steel, 104
Will sooner sparkle fire than shed a tear.
Yet stay, for rather than I’ll look on them,
Here, here! [Gives the crown.]
Now, sweet God of Heaven, 108
Make me despise this transitory pomp,
And sit for aye enthronized in Heaven!
Come, death, and with thy fingers close my eyes,
Or if I live, let me forget myself. 112

BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

My lord—

KING EDWARD

Call me not lord; away—out of my sight!
Ah, pardon me: grief makes me lunatic!
Let not that Mortimer protect my son; 116
More safety is there in a tiger’s jaws,
Than his embracements. Bear this to the queen,
Wet with my tears, and dried again with sighs; [Gives a handkerchief.]
If with the sight thereof she be not mov’d, 120
Return it back and dip it in my blood.
Commend me to my son, and bid him rule
Better than I. Yet how have I transgress’d,
Unless it be with too much clemency? 124

TRUSSEL

And thus most humbly do we take our leave.

KING EDWARD

Farewell;

[Exeunt the BISHOP OF WINCHESTER and TRUSSEL.]

I know the next news that they bring
Will be my death; and welcome shall it be; 128
To wretched men, death is felicity.

[Enter BERKELEY, (who gives a paper to LEICESTER)]

LEICESTER

Another post! what news brings he?

KING EDWARD

Such news as I expect—come, Berkeley, come,
And tell thy message to my naked breast. 132

BERKELEY

My lord, think not a thought so villainous
Can harbour in a man of noble birth.
To do your highness service and devoir,
And save you from your foes, Berkeley would die. 136

LEICESTER

My lord, the council of the queen commands
That I resign my charge.

KING EDWARD

And who must keep me now? Must you, my lord?

BERKELEY

Ay, my most gracious lord; so ’tis decreed. 140

KING EDWARD[taking the paper.]

By Mortimer, whose name is written here!
Well may I rend his name that rends my heart! [Tears it.]
This poor revenge has something eas’d my mind.
So may his limbs be torn, as is this paper! 144
Hear me, immortal Jove, and grant it too!

BERKELEY

Your grace must hence with me to Berkeley straight.

KING EDWARD

Whither you will; all places are alike,
And every earth is fit for burial. 148

LEICESTER

Favour him, my lord, as much as lieth in you.

BERKELEY

Even so betide my soul as I use him.

KING EDWARD

Mine enemy hath pitied my estate,
And that’s the cause that I am now remov’d. 152

BERKELEY

And thinks your grace that Berkeley will be cruel?

KING EDWARD

I know not; but of this am I assured,
That death ends all, and I can die but once.
Leicester, farewell! 156

LEICESTER

Not yet, my lord; I’ll bear you on your way.

[Exeunt.]


Act the Fifth, Scene II. The royal palace[edit]

[Enter QUEEN ISABELLA and Young MORTIMER]

YOUNG MORTIMER

Fair Isabel, now have we our desire;
The proud corrupters of the light-brain’d king
Have done their homage to the lofty gallows,
And he himself lies in captivity. 4
Be rul’d by me, and we will rule the realm.
In any case take heed of childish fear,
For now we hold an old wolf by the ears,
That, if he slip, will seize upon us both, 8
And gripe the sorer, being grip’d himself.
Think therefore, madam, that imports us much
To erect your son with all the speed we may,
And that I be protector over him; 12
For our behoof will bear the greater sway
Whenas a king’s name shall be under writ.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Sweet Mortimer, the life of Isabel,
Be thou persuaded that I love thee well, 16
And therefore, so the prince my son be safe,
Whom I esteem as dear as these mine eyes,
Conclude against his father what thou wilt,
And I myself will willingly subscribe. 20

YOUNG MORTIMER

First would I hear news that he were depos’d,
And then let me alone to handle him.

[Enter MESSENGER]

Letters! from whence?

MESSENGER

From Killingworth, my lord. 24

QUEEN ISABELLA

How fares my lord the king?

MESSENGER

In health, madam, but full of pensiveness.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Alas, poor soul, would I could ease his grief!

[Enter the BISHOP OF WINCHESTER with the crown.]

Thanks, gentle Winchester.

[To the Messenger.]

Sirrah, be gone.

[Exit Messenger.] 28 BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

The king hath willingly resign’d his crown.

QUEEN ISABELLA

O happy news! send for the prince, my son.

BISHOP OF WINCHESTER

Further, or this letter was seal’d, Lord Berkeley came,
So that he now is gone from Killingworth; 32
And we have heard that Edmund laid a plot
To set his brother free; no more but so.
The lord of Berkeley is as pitiful
As Leicester that had charge of him before. 36

QUEEN ISABELLA

Then let some other be his guardian.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Let me alone, here is the privy seal.

[Exit the BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.]

Who’s there?—Call hither Gurney and Matrevis.

[To Attendants within.]

To dash the heavy-headed Edmund’s drift, 40
Berkeley shall be discharg’d, the king remov’d,
And none but we shall know where he lieth.

QUEEN ISABELLA

But, Mortimer, as long as he survives,
What safety rests for us, or for my son? 44

YOUNG MORTIMER

Speak, shall he presently be despatch’d and die?

QUEEN ISABELLA

I would he were, so ’twere not by my means.

[Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY]

YOUNG MORTIMER

Enough.—
Matrevis, write a letter presently 48
Unto the lord of Berkeley from ourself
That he resign the king to thee and Gurney;
And when ’tis done, we will subscribe our name.

MATREVIS

It shall be done, my lord. [Writes.] 52

YOUNG MORTIMER

Gurney.

GURNEY

My lord.

YOUNG MORTIMER

As thou intend’st to rise by Mortimer,
Who now makes Fortune’s wheel turn as he please, 56
Seek all the means thou canst to make him droop,
And neither give him kind word nor good look.

GURNEY

I warrant you, my lord.

YOUNG MORTIMER

And this above the rest: because we hear 60
That Edmund casts to work his liberty,
Remove him still from thence place to place by night,
Till at the last he come to Killingworth,
And then from thence to Berkeley back again; 64
And by the way, to make him fret the more,
Speak curstly to him, and in any case
Let no man comfort him; if he chance to weep,
But amplify his grief with bitter words. 68

MATREVIS

Fear not, my lord, we’ll do as you command.

YOUNG MORTIMER

So now away; post thitherwards amain.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Whither goes this letter? To my lord the king?
Commend me humbly to his majesty, 72
And tell him that I labour all in vain
To ease his grief, and work his liberty;
And bear him this as witness of my love. [Gives a ring.]

MATREVIS

I will, madam. [Exit with GURNEY.] 76

[Enter PRINCE EDWARD, and KENT talking with him]

YOUNG MORTIMER

Finely dissembled. Do so still, sweet queen.
Here comes the young prince with the Earl of Kent.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Something he whispers in his childish ears.

YOUNG MORTIMER

If he have such access unto the prince, 80
Our plots and stratagems will soon be dash’d.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Use Edmund friendly, as if all were well.

YOUNG MORTIMER

How fares my honourable lord of Kent?

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

In health, sweet Mortimer. How fares your grace? 84

QUEEN ISABELLA

Well, if my lord your brother were enlarg’d.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

I hear of late he hath depos’d himself.

QUEEN ISABELLA

The more my grief.

YOUNG MORTIMER

And mine. 88

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Ah, they do dissemble! [Aside.]

QUEEN ISABELLA

Sweet son, come hither, I must talk with thee.

YOUNG MORTIMER

You being his uncle, and the next of blood,
Do look to be protector o’er the prince. 92

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Not I, my lord; who should protect the son,
But she that gave him life? I mean the queen.

PRINCE EDWARD

Mother, persuade me not to wear the crown:
Let him be king—I am too young to reign. 96

QUEEN ISABELLA

But be content, seeing ’tis his highness’ pleasure.

PRINCE EDWARD

Let me but see him first, and then I will.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Ay, do, sweet nephew.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Brother, you know it is impossible. 100

PRINCE EDWARD

Why, is he dead?

QUEEN ISABELLA

No, God forbid!

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

I would those words proceeded from your heart.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Inconstant Edmund, dost thou favour him, 104
That wast the cause of his imprisonment?

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

The more cause have I now to make amends.

YOUNG MORTIMER[Aside to Q. ISAB.]

I tell thee, ’tis not meet that one so false
Should come about the person of a prince.— 108
My lord, he hath betray’d the king his brother,
And therefore trust him not.

PRINCE EDWARD

But he repents, and sorrows for it now.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Come, son, and go with this gentle lord and me. 112

PRINCE EDWARD

With you I will, but not with Mortimer.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Why, youngling, ’sdain’st thou so of Mortimer?
Then I will carry thee by force away.

PRINCE EDWARD

Help, uncle Kent! Mortimer will wrong me. 116

QUEEN ISABELLA

Brother Edmund, strive not; we are his friends;
Isabel is nearer than the Earl of Kent.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Sister, Edward is my charge, redeem him.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Edward is my son, and I will keep him. 120

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Mortimer shall know that he hath wrong’d me!—
Hence will I haste to Killingworth Castle,
And rescue aged Edward from his foes,
To be reveng’d on Mortimer and thee. [Aside.]

[Exeunt (on one side QUEEN ISABELLA, PRINCE EDWARD, and Young MORTIMER; on the other KENT.)]


Act the Fifth, Scene III. Kenilworth Castle[edit]

[Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY (and Soldiers,) with KING EDWARD]

MATREVIS

My lord, be not pensive, we are your friends;
Men are ordain’d to live in misery,
Therefore come,—dalliance dangereth our lives.

KING EDWARD

Friends, whither must unhappy Edward go? 4
Will hateful Mortimer appoint no rest?
Must I be vexed like the nightly bird,
Whose sight is loathsome to all winged fowls?
When will the fury of his mind assuage? 8
When will his heart be satisfied with blood?
If mine will serve, unbowel straight this breast,
And give my heart to Isabel and him;
It is the chiefest mark they level at. 12

GURNEY

Not so my liege, the queen hath given this charge
To keep your grace in safety;
Your passions make your dolours to increase.

KING EDWARD

This usage makes my misery to increase. 16
But can my air of life continue long
When all my senses are annoy’d with stench?
Within a dungeon England’s king is kept,
Where I am starv’d for want of sustenance. 20
My daily diet is heart-breaking sobs,
That almost rents the closet of my heart.
Thus lives old Edward not reliev’d by any,
And so must die, though pitied by many. 24
O, water, gentle friends, to cool my thirst,
And clear my body from foul excrements!

MATREVIS

Here’s channel water, as our charge is given.
Sit down, for we’ll be barbers to your grace. 28

KING EDWARD

Traitors, away! What, will you murder me,
Or choke your sovereign with puddle water?

GURNEY

No; but wash your face, and shave away your beard,
Lest you be known and so be rescued. 32

MATREVIS

Why strive you thus? Your labour is in vain!

KING EDWARD

The wren may strive against the lion’s strength,
But all in vain: so vainly do I strive
To seek for mercy at a tyrant’s hand. They wash him with puddle water, and shave his beard away. 36
Immortal powers! that knows the painful cares
That wait upon my poor distressed soul,
O level all your looks upon these daring men,
That wrongs their liege and sovereign, England’s king! 40
O Gaveston, ’tis for thee that I am wrong’d,
For me, both thou and both the Spencers died!
And for your sakes a thousand wrongs I’ll take.
The Spencers’ ghosts, wherever they remain, 44
Wish well to mine; then tush, for them I’ll die.

MATREVIS

’Twixt theirs and yours shall be no enmity.
Come, come away; now put the torches out,
We’ll enter in by darkness to Killingworth. 48

[Enter KENT]

GURNEY

How now, who comes there?

MATREVIS

Guard the king sure: it is the Earl of Kent.

KING EDWARD

O gentle brother, help to rescue me!

MATREVIS

Keep them asunder; thrust in the king. 52

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Soldiers, let me but talk to him one word.

GURNEY

Lay hands upon the earl for his assault.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Lay down your weapons, traitors! Yield the king!

MATREVIS

Edmund, yield thou thyself, or thou shalt die. 56

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Base villains, wherefore do you gripe me thus?

GURNEY

Bind him and so convey him to the court.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Where is the court but here? Here is the king;
And I will visit him; why stay you me? 60

MATREVIS

The court is where Lord Mortimer remains;
Thither shall your honour go; and so farewell.

[Exeunt MATREVIS and GURNEY, with KING EDWARD.]

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

O miserable is that commonweal,
Where lords keep courts, and kings are locked in prison! 64

SOLDIER

Wherefore stay we? On, sirs, to the court!

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Ay, lead me whither you will, even to my death,
Seeing that my brother cannot be releas’d. Exeunt.

Act the Fifth, Scene IV. The royal palace[edit]

[Enter Young MORTIMER]

YOUNG MORTIMER

The king must die, or Mortimer goes down;
The commons now begin to pity him.
Yet he that is the cause of Edward’s death,
Is sure to pay for it when his son’s of age; 4
And therefore will I do it cunningly.
This letter, written by a friend of ours,
Contains his death, yet bids them save his life. [Reads.]
“Edwardum occidere nolite timere, bonum est 8
Fear not to kill the king, ’tis good he die.”
But read it thus, and that’s another sense:
“Edwardum occidere nolite, timere bonum est
Kill not the king, ’tis good to fear the worst.” 12
Unpointed as it is, thus shall it go,
That, being dead, if it chance to be found,
Matrevis and the rest may bear the blame,
And we be quit that caus’d it to be done. 16
Within this room is lock’d the messenger
That shall convey it, and perform the rest;
And by a secret token that he bears,
Shall he be murdered when the deed is done.— 20
Lightborn, come forth!

[Enter LIGHTBORN]

Art thou as resolute as thou wast?

LIGHTBORN

What else, my lord? And far more resolute.

YOUNG MORTIMER

And hast thou cast how to accomplish it? 24

LIGHTBORN

Ay, ay, and none shall know which way he died.

YOUNG MORTIMER

But at his looks, Lightborn, thou wilt relent.

LIGHTBORN

Relent! ha, ha! I use much to relent.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Well, do it bravely, and be secret. 28

LIGHTBORN

You shall not need to give instructions;
’Tis not the first time I have kill’d a man.
I learn’d in Naples how to poison flowers;
To strangle with a lawn thrust through the throat; 32
To pierce the windpipe with a needle’s point;
Or whilst one is asleep, to take a quill
And blow a little powder in his ears;
Or open his mouth and pour quicksilver down. 36
And yet I have a braver way than these.

YOUNG MORTIMER

What’s that?

LIGHTBORN

Nay, you shall pardon me; none shall know my tricks.

YOUNG MORTIMER

I care not how it is, so it be not spied. [Gives letter.] 40
Deliver this to Gurney and Matrevis.
At every ten mile end thou hast a horse.
Take this; [Gives money] away! and never see me more.

LIGHTBORN

No! 44

YOUNG MORTIMER

No;
Unless thou bring me news of Edward’s death.

LIGHTBORN

That will I quickly do. Farewell, my lord.

[Exit.] YOUNG MORTIMER

The prince I rule, the queen do I command, 48
And with a lowly conge to the ground,
The proudest lords salute me as I pass;
I seal, I cancel, I do what I will.
Fear’d am I more than lov’d;—let me be fear’d, 52
And when I frown, make all the court look pale.
I view the prince with Aristarchus’ eyes,
Whose looks were as a breeching to a boy.
They thrust upon me the protectorship, 56
And sue to me for that that I desire.
While at the council-table, grave enough,
And not unlike a bashful puritan,
First I complain of imbecility, 60
Saying it is onus quam gravissimum, 2
Till being interrupted by my friends,
Suscepi that provinciam as they term it;
And to conclude, I am Protector now. 64
Now is all sure: the queen and Mortimer
Shall rule the realm, the king; and none rule us.
Mine enemies will I plague, my friends advance;
And what I list command who dare control? 68
Major sum quam cui possit fortuna nocere.
And that this be the coronation-day,
It pleaseth me, and Isabel the queen. [Trumpets within.]
The trumpets sound, I must go take my place. 72

[Enter the Young KING, QUEEN ISABELLA, the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, Champion and Nobles]

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Long live King Edward, by the grace of God
King of England and Lord of Ireland!

CHAMPION

If any Christian, Heathen, Turk, or Jew,
Dares but affirm that Edward’s not true king, 76
And will avouch his saying with the sword,
I am the champion that will combat him.

YOUNG MORTIMER

None comes, sound trumpets. [Trumpets sound.]

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Champion, here’s to thee. [Gives a purse.] 80

QUEEN ISABELLA

Lord Mortimer, now take him to your charge.

[Enter Soldiers, with KENT prisoner]

YOUNG MORTIMER

What traitor have we there with blades and bills?

SOLDIER

Edmund, the Earl of Kent.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

What hath he done? 84

SOLDIER

A would have taken the king away perforce,
As we were bringing him to Killingworth.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Did you attempt this rescue, Edmund? Speak.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Mortimer, I did; he is our king, 88
And thou compell’st this prince to wear the crown.

YOUNG MORTIMER

Strike off his head! he shall have martial law.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Strike off my head! Base traitor, I defy thee!

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

My lord, he is my uncle, and shall live. 92

YOUNG MORTIMER

My lord, he is your enemy, and shall die.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Stay, villains!

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Sweet mother, if I cannot pardon him,
Entreat my Lord Protector for his life. 96

QUEEN ISABELLA

Son, be content; I dare not speak a word.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Nor I, and yet methinks I should command;
But, seeing I cannot, I’ll entreat for him—
My lord, if you will let my uncle live, 100
I will requite it when I come to age.

YOUNG MORTIMER

’Tis for your highness’ good, and for the realm’s.—
How often shall I bid you bear him hence?

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Art thou king? Must I die at thy command? 104

YOUNG MORTIMER

At our command—Once more away with him.

EDMUND, EARL of KENT

Let me but stay and speak; I will not go.
Either my brother or his son is king,
And none of both them thirst for Edmund’s blood: 108
And therefore, soldiers, whither will you hale me?

[Soldiers hale KENT away, to be beheaded. ]

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

What safety may I look for at his hands,
If that my uncle shall be murdered thus?

QUEEN ISABELLA

Fear not, sweet boy, I’ll guard thee from thy foes; 112
Had Edmund lived, he would have sought thy death.
Come, son, we’ll ride a-hunting in the park.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

And shall my uncle Edmund ride with us?

QUEEN ISABELLA

He is a traitor; think not on him; come.

[Exeunt.] 116


Act the Fifth, Scene V. Berkeley Castle[edit]

[Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY]

MATREVIS

Gurney, I wonder the king dies not,
Being in a vault up to the knees in water,
To which the channels of the castle run,
From whence a damp continually ariseth, 4
That were enough to poison any man,
Much more a king brought up so tenderly.

GURNEY

And so do I, Matrevis: yesternight
I opened but the door to throw him meat, 8
And I was almost stifled with the savour.

MATREVIS

He hath a body able to endure
More than we can inflict: and therefore now
Let us assail his mind another while. 12

GURNEY

Send for him out thence, and I will anger him.

MATREVIS

But stay, who’s this?

[Enter LIGHTBORN]

LIGHTBORN

My Lord Protector greets you. [Gives letter.]

GURNEY

What’s here? I know not how to construe it. 16

MATREVIS

Gurney, it was left unpointed for the nonce;
“Edwardum occidere nolite timere,”
That’s his meaning.

LIGHTBORN

Know ye this token? I must have the king. [Gives token.] 20

MATREVIS

Ay, stay awhile, thou shalt have answer straight.
This villain’s sent to make away the king. [Aside.]

GURNEY

I thought as much. [Aside.]

MATREVIS

And when the murder’s done, 24
See how he must be handled for his labour.
Pereat iste! Let him have the king. [Aside.]
What else? Here is the key, this is the lake,
Do as you are commanded by my lord. 28

LIGHTBORN

I Know what I must do. Get you away.
Yet be not far off, I shall need your help;
See that in the next room I have a fire,
And get me a spit, and let it be red-hot. 32

MATREVIS

Very well.

GURNEY

Need you anything besides?

LIGHTBORN

What else? A table and a feather-bed.

GURNEY

That’s all? 36

LIGHTBORN

Ay, ay; so, when I call you, bring it in.

MATREVIS

Fear not thou that.

GURNEY

Here’s a light, to go into the dungeon. [Gives a light, and then exit with MATREVIS.]

LIGHTBORN

So now 40
Must I about this gear; ne’er was there any
So finely handled as this king shall be.
For, here’s a place indeed, with all my heart!

KING EDWARD

Who’s there? What light is that? wherefore com’st thou? 44

LIGHTBORN

To comfort you, and bring you joyful news.

KING EDWARD

Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks.
Villain, I know thou com’st to murder me.

LIGHTBORN

To murder you, my most gracious lord! 48
Far is it from my heart to do you harm.
The queen sent me to see how you were used,
For she relents at this your misery:
And what eyes can refrain from shedding tears, 52
To see a king in this most piteous state?

KING EDWARD

Weep’st thou already? List awhile to me
And then thy heart, were it as Gurney’s is,
Or as Matrevis’, hewn from the Caucasus, 56
Yet will it melt, ere I have done my tale.
This dungeon where they keep me is the sink
Wherein the filth of all the castle falls.

LIGHTBORN

O villains! 60

KING EDWARD

And there in mire and puddle have I stood
This ten days’ space; and, lest that I should sleep,
One plays continually upon a drum.
They give me bread and water, being a king; 64
So that, for want of sleep and sustenance,
My mind’s distempered, and my body’s numb’d,
And whether I have limbs or no I know not.
O, would my blood dropp’d out from every vein, 68
As doth this water from my tattered robes.
Tell Isabel, the queen, I look’d not thus,
When for her sake I ran at tilt in France,
And there unhors’d the Duke of Cleremont. 72

LIGHTBORN

O speak no more, my lord! this breaks my heart.
Lie on this bed, and rest yourself awhile.

KING EDWARD

These looks of thine can harbour nought but death:
I see my tragedy written in thy brows. 76
Yet stay a while; forbear thy bloody hand,
And let me see the stroke before it comes,
That even then when I shall lose my life,
My mind may be more steadfast on my God. 80

LIGHTBORN

What means your highness to mistrust me thus?

KING EDWARD

What mean’st thou to dissemble with me thus?

LIGHTBORN

These hands were never stain’d with innocent blood,
Nor shall they now be tainted with a king’s. 84

KING EDWARD

Forgive my thought for having such a thought.
One jewel have I left; receive thou this. [Giving jewel.]
Still fear I, and I know not what’s the cause,
But every joint shakes as I give it thee. 88
O, if thou harbour’st murder in thy heart,
Let this gift change thy mind, and save thy soul!
Know that I am a king: O, at that name
I feel a hell of grief! Where is my crown? 92
Gone, gone! and do I still remain alive?

LIGHTBORN

You’re overwatch’d, my lord; lie down and rest.

KING EDWARD

But that grief keeps me waking, I should sleep;
For not these ten days have these eye-lids clos’d. 96
Now as I speak they fall, and yet with fear
Open again. O wherefore sitt’st thou here?

LIGHTBORN

If you mistrust me, I’ll begone, my lord.

KING EDWARD

No, no, for if thou mean’st to murder me, 100
Thou wilt return again, and therefore stay. [Sleeps.]

LIGHTBORN

He sleeps.

KING EDWARD[waking].

O let me not die yet! O stay a while!

LIGHTBORN

How now, my lord? 104

KING EDWARD

Something still buzzeth in mine ears,
And tells me if I sleep I never wake;
This fear is that which makes me tremble thus.
And therefore tell me, wherefore art thou come? 108

LIGHTBORN

To rid thee of thy life.—Matrevis, come!

[Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY]

KING EDWARD

I am too weak and feeble to resist:—
Assist me, sweet God, and receive my soul!

LIGHTBORN

Run for the table. 112

KING EDWARD

O spare me, or despatch me in a trice. [MATREVIS brings in a table.]

LIGHTBORN

So, lay the table down, and stamp on it,
But not too hard, lest that you bruise his body.

[KING EDWARD is murdered.] MATREVIS

I fear me that this cry will raise the town, 116
And therefore, let us take horse and away.

LIGHTBORN

Tell me, sirs, was it not bravely done?

GURNEY

Excellent well: take this for thy reward. [GURNEY stabs LIGHTBORN (who dies.}]
Come, let us cast the body in the moat, 120
And bear the king’s to Mortimer our lord:
Away!

[Exeunt (with the bodies.)]


Act the Fifth, Scene VI. The royal palace, London[edit]

[Enter Young MORTIMER and MATREVIS]

YOUNG MORTIMER

Is’t done, Matrevis, and the murderer dead?

MATREVIS

Ay, my good lord; I would it were undone!

YOUNG MORTIMER

Matrevis, if thou now growest penitent
I’ll be thy ghostly father; therefore choose, 4
Whether thou wilt be secret in this,
Or else die by the hand of Mortimer.

MATREVIS

Gurney, my lord, is fled, and will, I fear
Betray us both, therefore let me fly. 8

YOUNG MORTIMER

Fly to the savages!

MATREVIS

I humbly thank your honour. [Exit.]

YOUNG MORTIMER

As for myself, I stand as Jove’s huge tree,
And others are but shrubs compar’d to me. 12
All tremble at my name, and I fear none;
Let’s see who dare impeach me for his death!

[Enter QUEEN ISABELLA]

QUEEN ISABELLA

Ah, Mortimer, the king my son hath news
His father’s dead, and we have murdered him! 16

YOUNG MORTIMER

What if he have? The king is yet a child.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Ay, but he tears his hair, and wrings his hands,
And vows to be reveng’d upon us both.
Into the council-chamber he is gone, 20
To crave the aid and succour of his peers.
Ay me! see here he comes, and they with him.
Now, Mortimer, begins our tragedy.

[Enter KING EDWARD THE THIRD, LORDS, and Attendants.]

1ST LORD

Fear not, my lord, know that you are a king. 24

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Villain!—

YOUNG MORTIMER

How now, my lord!

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Think not that I am frighted with thy words!
My father’s murdered through thy treachery; 28
And thou shalt die, and on his mournful hearse
Thy hateful and accursed head shall lie,
To witness to the world, that by thy means
His kingly body was too soon interr’d. 32

QUEEN ISABELLA

Weep not, sweet son!

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Forbid me not to weep; he was my father;
And, had you lov’d him half so well as I,
You could not bear his death thus patiently. 36
But you, I fear, conspir’d with Mortimer.

1ST LORD

Why speak you not unto my lord the king?

YOUNG MORTIMER

Because I think scorn to be accus’d.
Who is the man dares say I murdered him? 40

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Traitor! in me my loving father speaks,
And plainly saith, ’twas thou that murd’redst him.

YOUNG MORTIMER

But has your grace no other proof than this?

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Yes, if this be the hand of Mortimer. [Shewing letter.] 44

YOUNG MORTIMER

False Gurney hath betray’d me and himself. [Aside.]

QUEEN ISABELLA

I fear’d as much; murder cannot be hid. [Aside.]

YOUNG MORTIMER

It is my hand; what gather you by this?

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

That thither thou didst send a murderer. 48

YOUNG MORTIMER

What murderer? Bring forth the man I sent.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Ah, Mortimer, thou knowest that he is slain;
And so shalt thou be too.—Why stays he here
Bring him unto a hurdle, drag him forth; 52
Hang him, I say, and set his quarters up;
But bring his head back presently to me.

QUEEN ISABELLA

For my sake, sweet son, pity Mortimer!

YOUNG MORTIMER

Madam, entreat not, I will rather die, 56
Than sue for life unto a paltry boy.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Hence with the traitor! with the murderer!

YOUNG MORTIMER

Base Fortune, now I see, that in thy wheel
There is a point, to which when men aspire, 60
They tumble headlong down: that point I touch’d,
And, seeing there was no place to mount up higher,
Why should I grieve at my declining fall?—
Farewell, fair queen; weep not for Mortimer, 64
That scorns the world, and, as a traveller,
Goes to discover countries yet unknown.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

What! suffer you the traitor to delay?

[Young MORTIMER is taken away by First Lord and Attendants.] QUEEN ISABELLA

As thou receivedest thy life from me, 68
Spill not the blood of gentle Mortimer!

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

This argues that you spilt my father’s blood,
Else would you not entreat for Mortimer.

QUEEN ISABELLA

I spill his blood? No. 72

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Ay, madam, you; for so the rumour runs.

QUEEN ISABELLA

That rumour is untrue; for loving thee,
Is this report rais’d on poor Isabel.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

I do not think her so unnatural. 76

2ND LORD

My lord, I fear me it will prove too true.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Mother, you are suspected for his death
And therefore we commit you to the Tower
Till farther trial may be made thereof; 80
If you be guilty, though I be your son,
Think not to find me slack or pitiful.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Nay, to my death, for too long have I liv’d
Whenas my son thinks to abridge my days. 84

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Away with her, her words enforce these tears,
And I shall pity her if she speak again.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Shall I not mourn for my beloved lord,
And with the rest accompany him to his grave? 88

2ND LORD

Thus, madam, ’tis the king’s will you shall hence.

QUEEN ISABELLA

He hath forgotten me; stay, I am his mother.

2ND LORD

That boots not; therefore, gentle madam, go.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief. [Exit.] 92

[Re-enter 1st Lord, with the head of Young MORTIMER]

1ST LORD

My lord, here is the head of Mortimer.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD

Go fetch my father’s hearse, where it shall lie;
And bring my funeral robes. [Exeunt Attendants.]
Accursed head, 96
Could I have rul’d thee then, as I do now,
Thou had’st not hatch’d this monstrous treachery!—
Here comes the hearse; help me to mourn, my lords.

[Re-enter Attendants with the hearse and funeral robes]

Sweet father, here unto thy murdered ghost 100
I offer up this wicked traitor’s head;
And let these tears, distilling from mine eyes,
Be witness of my grief and innocency.

[Exeunt.]