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They would not stir, were it to do me good.
Why should a king be subject to a priest?
Proud Rome! that hatchest such imperial grooms,
For these thy superstitious taper-lights,
Wherewith thy antichristian churches blaze,
I'll fire thy crazed buildings, and enforce
The papal towers to kiss the lowly ground !
With slaughtered priests make Tiber's channel swell,
And banks raised higher with their sepulchres !
As for the peers, that back the clergy thus,
If I be king, not one of them shall live.
Gav. My lord, I hear it whispered everywhere,
That I am banished, and must fly the land.
K. Edw. 'Tis true, sweet Gaveston —O! were it false !
The legate of the Pope will have it so,
And thou must hence, or I shall be deposed.
But I will reign to be revenged of them;
And therefore, sweet friend, take it patiently.
Live where thou wilt, I'll send thee gold enough;
And long thou shalt not stay, or if thou dost,
I'll come to thee; my love shall ne'er decline.
Gav. Is all my hope turned to this hell of grief?
K. Edw. Rend not my heart with thy too-piercing words: Thou from this land, I from myself am banished.
Gav. To go from hence grieves not poor Gaveston ;
But to forsake you, in whose gracious looks
The blessedness of Gaveston remains :
For nowhere else seeks he felicity.
K. Edw. And only this torments my wretched soul
That, whether I will or no, thou must depart.
Be governor of Ireland in my stead,
And there abide till fortune call thee home.
Here take my picture, and let me wear thine ;
[They exchange pictures. O, might I keep thee here as I do this, Happy were I ! but now most miserable !
Gav. 'Tis something to be pitied of a king.
K. Edw. Thou shalt not hence - I'll hide thee, Gaveston.
Gav. I shall be found, and then 'twill grieve me more.
K. Edw. Kind words and mutual talk makes our grief
Therefore, with dumb embracement, let us part-
Stay, Gaveston, I can not leave thee thus.
Gav. For every look, my love' drops down a tear :
Seeing I must go, do not renew my sorrow.
K. Edw. The time is little that thou hast to stay,
And, therefore, give me leave to look my fill :
But come, sweet friend, I'll bear thee on thy way.
Gav. The peers will frown.
K. Edw. I pass ? not for their anger Come, let's go; O that we might as well return as go.
Enter QUEEN ISABELLA. Q. Isab. Whither goes my lord ? K. Edw. Fawn not on me, French strumpet! get thee
gone ! Q. Isab. On whom but on my husband should I fawn?
Gav. On Mortimer! with whom, ungentle queen-
say no more — - judge you the rest, my lord.
Q. Isab. In saying this, thou wrong'st me, Gaveston ;
Is't not enough that thou corrupt'st my lord,
And art a bawd to his affections,
But thou must call mine honour thus in question?
Gav. I mean not so; your grace must pardon me.
K. Edw. Thou art too familiar with that Mortimer,
And by thy means is Gaveston exiled;
But I would wish thee reconcile the lords,
Or thou shalt ne'er be reconciled to me.
Q. Isab. Your highness knows it lies not in my power.
K. Edw. Away then! touch me not — Come, Gaveston.
Q. Isab. Villain ! 'tis thou that robb'st me of my lord.
Gav. Madam, 'tis you that rob me of my lord.
K. Edw. Speak not unto her; let her droop and pine.
Q. Isab. Wherein, my lord, have I deserved these words?
Witness the tears that Isabella sheds,
Witness this heart, that sighing for thee, breaks,
How dear my lord is to poor Isabel.
K. Edw. And witness Heaven how dear thou art to me : There weep: for till my Gaveston be repealed, Assure thyself thou com’st not in my sight.
[Exeunt EDWARD and GAVESTON. Q. Isab. O miserable and distressed queen ! Would, when I left sweet France and was embarked, That charming Circe walking on the waves, Had changed my shape, or at the marriage-day The cup of Hymen had been full of poison, Or with those arms that twined about
neck I“ Lord” in the old editions; altered by Dyce to "love."
I had been stifled, and not lived to see
The king my lord thus to abandon me !
Like frantic Juno will I fill the earth
With ghastly murmur of my sighs and cries;
For never doated Jove on Ganymede
So much as he on cursed Gaveston :
But that will more exasperate his wrath ;
I must entreat him, I must speak him fair;
And be a means to call home Gaveston :
And yet he'll ever doat on Gaveston ;
And so am I for ever miserable.
Re-enter LANCASTER, WARWICK, PEMBROKE, the Elder MORTIMER,
and Young MORTIMER.
Lan. Look where the sister of the King of France
Sits wringing of her hands, and beats her breast !
War. The king, I fear, hath ill-entreated her.
Pem. Hard is the heart that injuries such a saint.
Y. Mor. I know 'tis ’long of Gaveston she weeps.
E. Mor. Why, he is gone.
Y. Mor. Madam, how fares your grace?
Q. Isab. Ah, Mortimer! now breaks the king's hate forth,
And he confesseth that he loves me not.
Y. Mor. Cry quittance, madam, then ; and love not him.
Q. Isab. No, rather will I die a thousand deaths :
love in vain ; he'll ne'er love me.
Lan. Fear ye not, madam; now his minion's gone,
His wanton humour will be quickly left.
Q. Isab. O never, Lancaster! I am enjoined
To sue upon you all for his repeal ;
This wills my lord, and this must I perform,
Or else be banished from his highness' presence.
Lan. For his repeal, madam ! he comes not back,
Unless the sea cast up his shipwrecked body.
War. And to behold so sweet a sight as that,
There's none here but would run his horse to death.
Y. Mor. But. madam, would you have us call him home?
Q. Isab. Ay, Mortimer, for till he be restored,
The angry king hath banished me the court;
And, therefore, as thou lov'st and tender'st me,
Be thou my advocate unto these peers.
Y. Mor. What! would you have me plead for Gaveston?
E. Mor. Plead for him that will, I am resolved.
Lan. And so am I, my lord : dissuade the queen.
Q. Isab. O Lancaster! let him dissuade the king.
For 'tis against my will he should return.
War. Then speak not for him, let the peasant go.
Q. Isab. 'Tis for myself I speak, and not for him.
Pem. No speaking will prevail, and therefore cease.
Y. Mor. Fair queen, forbear to angle for the fish
Which, being caught, strikes him that takes it dead;
I mean that vile torpedo, Gaveston,
That now, I hope, floats on the Irish seas.
Q. Isab. Sweet Mortimer, sit down by me awhile,
And I will tell thee reasons of such weight
As thou wilt soon subscribe to his repeal.
Y. Mor. It is impossible ; but speak your mind.
Q. Isab. Then thus, but none shall hear it but ourselves.
[Talks to Young MORTIMER apart. Lan. My lords, albeit the queen win Mortimer, Will you be resolute, and hold with me?
E. Mor. Not I, against my nephew.
Pem. Fear not, the queen's words can not alter him.
War. No? do but mark how earnestly she pleads !
Lan. And see how coldly his looks make denial !
War. She smiles ; now for my life his mind is changed !
Lan. I'll rather lose his friendship, I, than grant.
Y. Mor. Well, of necessity it must be so.
My lords, that I abhor base Gaveston,
I hope your honours make no question,
And therefore, though I plead for his repeal,
'Tis not for his sake, but for our avail ;
Nay for the realm's behoof, and for the king's.
Lan. Fie, Mortimer, dishonour not thyself!
Can this be true, 'twas good to banish him?
And is this true, to call him home again?
Such reasons make white black, and dark night day.
Y. Mor. My lord of Lancaster, mark the respect.
Lan. In no respect can contraries be true.
Q. Isab. Yet, good my lord, hear what he can allege.
War. All that he speaks is nothing; we are resolved.
Y. Mor. Do you not wish that Gaveston were dead?
Pem. I would he were !
Y. Mor. Why then, my lord, give me but leave to speak.
E. Mor. But, nephew, do not play the sophister.
Y. Mor. This which I urge is of a burning zeal
To mend the king, and do our country good.
Know you not Gaveston hath store of gold,
Which may in Ireland purchase him such friends
As he will front the mightiest of us all? And whereas he shall live and be beloved, 'Tis hard for us to work his overthrow.
War. Mark you but that, my lord of Lancaster.
Y. Mor. But were he here, detested as he is,
How easily might some base slave be suborned
To greet his lordship with a poniard,
And none so much as blame the murderer,
But rather praise him for that brave attempt,
And in the chronicle enrol his name
For purging of the realm of such a plague !
Pem. He saith true.
Lan. Ay, but how chance this was not done before?
Y. Mor. Because, my lords, it was not thought upon.
Nay, more, when he shall know it lies in us
To banish him, and then to call him home,
'Twill make him vail : the top-flag of his pride,
And fear to offend the meanest nobleman.
E. Mor. But how if he do not, nephew?
Y. Mor. Then may we with some colour rise in arms;
For howsoever we have borne it out,
'Tis treason to be up against the king ;
So we shall have the people of our side,
Which for his father's sake lean to the king,
But can not brook a night-grown mushroom,
Such a one as my lord of Cornwall is,
Should bear us down of the nobility.
And when the commons and the nobles join,
'Tis not the king can buckler Gaveston;
We'll pull him from the strongest hold he hath.
My lords, if to perform this I be slack,
Think me as base a groom as Gaveston.
Lan. On that condition, Lancaster will grant.
Pem. And so will Pembroke.
War. And I.
E. Mor And I.
Y. Mor. In this I count me highly gratified,
And Mortimer will rest at your command.
Q. Isab. And when this favour Isabel forgets,
Then let her live abandoned and forlorn.
But see, in happy time, my lord the king,
Having brought the Earl of Cornwall on his way,
Is new returned ; this news will glad him much;
Yet not so much as me; I love him more