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Art thou so resolute as thou wast?
Light. What else, my lord? and far more resolute.
Y. Mor. And hast thou cast ' how to accomplish it?
Light. Ay, ay, and none shall know which way he died.
Y. Mor. But at his looks, Lightborn, thou wilt relent.
Light. Relent! ha, ha! I use much to relent.
Y. Mor. Well, do it bravely, and be secret.
Light. You shall not need to give instructions ;
'Tis not the first time I have killed a man.
I learned in Naples how to poison flowers ;
To strangle with a lawn thrust down the throat;
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.
And yet I have a braver way than these.
Y. Mor. What's that?
Light. Nay, you shall pardon me; none shall know my tricks.
Y. Mor. I care not how it is, so it be not spied.
Deliver this to Gurney and Matrevis.
[Gives letter. At every ten mile end thou hast a horse. Take this; [Gives money] away! and never see me more.
Y. Mor. No;
Unless thou bring me news of Edward's death.
Light. That will I quickly do. Farewell, my lord. [Exit.
Y. Mor. The prince I rule, the queen do I command,
And with a lowly congé to the ground,
The proudest lords salute me as I pass;
I seal, I cancel, I do what I will.
Feared am I more than loved ; — let me be feared,
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,
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,
Saying it is “onus quam gravissimum";
Till being interrupted by my friends,
Suscepi that provinciam as they term it;
And to conclude, I am Protector now.
Now is all sure: the queen and Mortimer
Shall rule the realm, the king; and none rules us.
Mine enemies will I plague, my friends advance;
And what I list command who dare control?
“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.
The scene changes to Westminster
Enter KING EDWARD THE THIRD, QUEEN ISABELLA, the ARCHBISHOP
of CANTERBURY, Champion and Nobles.
A. of Cant. Long live King Edward, by the grace of God,
King of England and Lord of Ireland !
Cham. If any Christian, Heathen, Turk, or Jew,
Dare but affirm that Edward's not true king,
And will avouch his saying with the sword,
I am the champion that will combat him.
Y. Mor. None comes, sound trumpets. [Trumpets sound.
K. Edw. Third Champion, here's to thee. [Gives a purse.
Q. Isab. Lord Mortimer, now take him to your charge.
Enter Soldiers, with KENT prisoner.
Y. Mor. What traitor have we there with blades and bills?
Sol. Edmund, the Earl of Kent.
K. Edw. Third. What hath he done?
Sol. 'A would have taken the king away perforce,
As we were bringing him to Killingworth.
Y. Mor. Did you attempt his rescue, Edmund ? speak,
Kent. Mortimer, I did; he is our king,
And thou compell'st this prince to wear the crown.
Y. Mor. Strike off his head! he shall have martial law.
Kent. Strike off my head! base traitor, I defy thee !
K. Edw. Third. My lord, he is my uncle, and shall live.
Y. Mor. My lord, he is your enemy, and shall die.
Kent. Stay, villains !
K. Edw. Third. Sweet mother, if I can not pardon him,
Entreat my Lord Protector for his life.
Q. Isab. Son, be content; I dare not speak a word.
K. Edw. Third. Nor I, and yet methinks I should command;
1 I am higher than Fortune can reach. Ovid, Metam. vi. 195.
But, seeing I cannot, I'll entreat for him
My lord, if you will let my uncle live,
I will requite it when I come to age.
Y. Mor. 'Tis for your highness' good, and for the realm's. How often shall I bid you bear him hence?
Kent. Art thou king? must I die at thy command?
Y. Mor. At our command. — Once more away with him.
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 :
And therefore, soldiers, whither will you hale me?
[Soldiers hale Kent away, to be beheaded. K. Edw. Third. What safety may I look for at his hands, If that my uncle shall be murdered thus ?
Q. Isab. Fear not, sweet boy, I'll guard thee from thy foes; Had Edmund lived, he would have sought thy death. Come, son, we'll ride a-hunting in the park.
K. Edw. Third. And shall my uncle Edmund ride with us? Q. Isab. He is a traitor : think not on him : come.
SCENE V.- IN BERKELEY CASTLE
Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY.
Mat. 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,
That were enough to poison any man,
Much more a king brought up so tenderly.
Gur. And so do I, Matrevis : yesternight
I opened but the door to throw him meat,
And I was almost stilled with the savour.
Mat. He hath a body able to endure
More than we can inflict: and therefore now
Let us assail his mind another while.
Gur. Send for him out thence, and I will anger him.
Mat. But stay, who's this?
Light. My Lord Protector greets you.
[Gives letter. Gur. What's here? I know not how to construe it.
Mat. Gurney, it was left unpointed for the nonce; “ Edwardum occidere nolite timere,” That's his meaning.
Light. Know ye this token? I must have the king.
[Gives token. Mat. Ay, stay awhile, thou shalt have answer straight. This villain's sent to make away the king.
[ Aside. Gur. I thought as much.
Mat. And when the murder's done,
See how he must be handled for his labour.
Pereat iste! Let him have the king.
What else? here is the key, this is the lock,
Do as you are commanded by my lord.
Light. 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.
Mat. Very well.
Gur. Need anything besides?
Light. What else? A table and a feather-bed.
Gur. That's all?
Light. Ay, ay; so, when I call you, bring it in.
Mat. Fear not thou that.
Gur. Here's a light, to go into the dungeon.
[Gives a light, and then exit with MATREVIS. The scene now discloses the interior of the dungeon in which KING
EDWARD is confined
Light. So now
Must I about this this gear"; ne'er was there any
So finely handled as this king shall be.
Foh, here's a place indeed, with all my heart !
K. Edw. Who's there? what light is that? wherefore com'st
Light. To comfort you, and bring you joyful news.
K. Edw. Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks.
Villain, I know thou com'st to murder me.
Light. To murder you, my most gracious lord !
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,
To see a king in this most piteous state?
K. Edw. 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,
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.
Light. O villains !
K. Edw. 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;
So that, for want of sleep, and sustenance,
My mind's distempered, and my body's numbed,
And whether I have limbs or no I know not.
O, would my blood dropped out from every vein,
As doth this water from my tattered robes.
Tell Isabel, the queen, I looked not thus,
When for her sake I ran at tilt in France,
And there unhorsed the Duke of Cleremont.
Light. O speak no more, my lord ! this breaks my heart.
Lie on this bed, and rest yourself awhile.
K. Edw. These looks of thine can harbour nought but
I see my tragedy written in thy brows.
Yet stay; awhile 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.
Light. What means your highness to mistrust me thus ?
K. Edw. What mean'st thou to dissemble with me thus?
Light. These hands were never stained with innocent blood, Nor shall they now be tainted with a king's.
K. Edw. Forgive my thoughta 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. O, if thou harbourest 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? Gone, gone ! and do I still remain alive?
Light. You're overwatched, my lord; lie down and rest.
K. Edw. But that grief keeps me waking, I should sleep; For not these ten days have these eyelids closed. Now as I speak they fall, and yet with fear Open again. O wherefore sitt'st thou here?
Light. If you mistrust me, I'll begone, my lord. I The feather-bed provided by Gurney and Matrevis. 2 Mr. Fleay proposes to read “fault.”