EDWARD II

by Christopher Marlowe

1592

The Troublesome Raigne and lamentable

 death of Edward the second, king of

England: with the tragicall fall of proud

Mortimer.

 

 

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

King Edward the Second.

     Queen Isabella, Wife of King Edward the Second.

     Margaret, Niece to King Edward the Second,

          daughter of the Earl of Gloucester.

     Prince Edward, his Son, afterwards King Edward

          the Third.

Earl of Kent, brother of King Edward the Second.

Gaveston, the king's favourite.

The King's Party:

Spenser, the elder.

Spenser, the younger, his Son.

Baldock.

The Earl of Arundel.

Beaumont.

Levune, a Frenchman.

The King's Opponents:

The Earl of Warwick.

The Earl of Pembroke.

     James, a retainer of Pembroke.

The Earl of Lancaster.

The Earl of Leicester.

Lord Berkeley.

Mortimer, the elder.

Mortimer, the younger, his Nephew.

More of the King's Opponents:

Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop of Coventry.

Bishop of Winchester.

Trussel.

Sir John of Hainault.

Rice ap Howell.

The King's Jailers:

Gurney.

Matrevis.

Lightborn.

Abbot, Monks, Herald, Lords, Three Poor Men, Mower,

Champion, Messengers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

Ladies.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

Enter Gaveston, reading a letter [from the king.]

 

Gav.  My father is deceased! Come, Gaveston,

And share the kingdom with thy dearest friend.”

Ah! words that make me surfeit with delight!

What greater bliss can hap to Gaveston

Than live and be the favourite of a king!

Sweet prince, I come; these, these thy amorous lines

Might have enforced me to have swum from France,

And, like Leander, gasped upon the sand,

So thou would’st smile, and take me in thine arms.

The sight of London to my exiled eyes

Is as Elysium to a new-come soul;

Not that I love the city, or the men,

But that it harbours him I hold so dear −

The king, upon whose bosom let me die,

And with the world be still at enmity.

What need the arctic people love starlight,

To whom the sun shines both by day and night?

Farewell base stooping to the lordly peers!

My knee shall bow to none but to the king.

As for the multitude, that are but sparks,

Raked up in embers of their poverty; −

Tanti;  I'll fawn first on the wind

That glanceth at my lips, and flieth away.

But how now, what are these?

 

Enter three Poor Men.

Men.  Such as desire your worship's service.

 

Gav.  What canst thou do?

1st P. Man.  I can ride.

Gav.  But I have no horse. What art thou?

2nd P. Man.  A traveller.

Gav.                     Let me see − thou would’st do well

To wait at my trencher and tell me lies at dinner-time;

And as I like your discoursing, I'll have you.

And what art thou?

3rd P. Man.  A soldier, that hath served against the Scot.

Gav.  Why, there are hospitals for such as you;

I have no war, and therefore, sir, be gone.

3rd P. Man.  Farewell, and perish by a soldier's hand,

That would’st reward them with an hospital!

Gav.  [Aside] Ay, ay, these words of his move me as much

As if a goose should play the porcupine,

And dart her plumes, thinking to pierce my breast.

But yet it is no pain to speak men fair;

I'll flatter these, and make them live in hope. −

You know that I came lately out of France,

And yet I have not viewed my lord the king.

If I speed well, I'll entertain you all.

Men.  We thank your worship.

Gav.  I have some business. Leave me to myself.

Poor Men.  We will wait here about the court.

[Exeunt Poor Men.]

Gav.  Do. These are not men for me:

I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,

Musicians, that with touching of a string

May draw the pliant king which way I please.

Music and poetry is his delight;

Therefore I'll have Italian masques by night,

Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows;

And in the day, when he shall walk abroad,

Like sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad;

My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawns,

Shall with their goat-feet dance the antic hay.

Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape,

With hair that gilds the water as it glides,

Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,

And in his sportful hands an olive-tree,

To hide those parts which men delight to see,

Shall bathe him in a spring; and there hard by,

One like Actæon peeping through the grove,

Shall by the angry goddess be transformed,

And running in the likeness of an hart

By yelping hounds pulled down, shall seem to die −

Such things as these best please his majesty.

Here comes my lord the king, and the nobles

From the parliament. I'll stand aside.

[Retires.]

Enter King Edward, Lancaster, the elder Mortimer,

Young Mortimer, Kent, Warwick, Pembroke

and Attendants.

 

K. Edw.  Lancaster!

Lanc.  My lord.

Gav.  [Aside] That Earl of Lancaster do I abhor.

K. Edw.  Will you not grant me this? −

                                             [Aside] In spite of them

I'll have my will; and these two Mortimers,

That cross me thus, shall know I am displeased.

E. Mort.  If you love us, my lord, hate Gaveston.

Gav.  [Aside] That villain Mortimer! I'll be his death.

Y. Mort.  Mine uncle here, this earl, and I myself,

Were sworn unto your father at his death,

That he should ne'er return into the realm:

And know, my lord, ere I will break my oath,

This sword of mine, that should offend your foes,

Shall sleep within the scabbard at thy need,

And underneath thy banners march who will,

For Mortimer will hang his armour up.

Gav.  [Aside] Mort dieu!

K. Edw.  Well, Mortimer, I'll make thee rue these words.

Beseems it thee to contradict thy king?

Frown'st thou thereat, aspiring Lancaster?

The sword shall plane the furrows of thy brows,

And hew these knees that now are grown so stiff.

I will have Gaveston; and you shall know

What danger 'tis to stand against your king.

Gav.  [Aside] Well done, Ned!

Lanc.  My lord, why do you thus incense your peers,

That naturally would love and honour you,

But for that base and óbscure Gaveston?

Four earldoms have I, besides Lancaster −

Derby, Salisbury, Lincoln, Leicester, −

These will I sell, to give my soldiers pay,

Ere Gaveston shall stay within the realm;

Therefore, if he be come, expel him straight.

Kent.  Barons and earls, your pride hath made me mute;

But now I'll speak, and to the proof, I hope.

I do remember, in my father's days,

Lord Percy of the North, being highly moved,

Braved Moubery in presence of the king;

For which, had not his highness loved him well,

He should have lost his head; but with his look

Th' undaunted spirit of Percy was appeased,

And Moubery and he were reconciled:

Yet dare you brave the king unto his face.−

Brother, revenge it, and let these their heads

Preach upon poles, for trespass of their tongues.

War.  O, our heads!

K. Edw.  Ay, yours; and therefore I would wish you grant −

War.  Bridle thy anger, gentle Mortimer.

Y. Mort.  I cannot, nor I will not; I must speak. −

Cousin, our hands I hope shall fence our heads,

And strike off his that makes you threaten us. −

Come, uncle, let us leave the brain-sick king,

And henceforth parley with our naked swords.

E. Mort.  Wiltshire hath men enough to save our heads.

War.  All Warwickshire will love him for my sake.

Lanc.  And northward Gaveston hath many friends. −

Adieu, my lord; and either change your mind,

Or look to see the throne, where you should sit,

To float in blood; and at thy wanton head,

The glozing head of thy base minion thrown.

Exeunt all except King Edward, Kent, Gaveston

and Attendants.

K. Edw.  I cannot brook these haughty menaces;

Am I a king, and must be overruled? −

Brother, display my ensigns in the field;

I'll bandy with the barons and the earls,

And either die or live with Gaveston.

Gav.  I can no longer keep me from my lord.

[Comes forward.]

K. Edw.  What, Gaveston! welcome! − Kiss not my hand −

Embrace me, Gaveston, as I do thee.

Why shouldst thou kneel? Know'st thou not who I am?

Thy friend, thyself, another Gaveston!

Not Hylas was more mourned of Hercules,

Than thou hast been of me since thy exíle.

Gav.  And since I went from hence, no soul in hell

Hath felt more torment than poor Gaveston.

K. Edw.  I know it. − Brother, welcome home my friend.

Now let the treacherous Mortimers conspire,

And that high-minded Earl of Lancaster:

I have my wish, in that I joy thy sight;

And sooner shall the sea o'erwhelm my land,

Than bear the ship that shall transport thee hence.

I here create thee Lord High Chamberlain,

Chief Secretary to the state and me,

Earl of Cornwall, King and Lord of Man.

Gav.  My lord, these titles far exceed my worth.

Kent.  Brother, the least of these may well suffice

For one of greater birth than Gaveston.

K. Edw.  Cease, brother: for I cannot brook these words. −

Thy worth, sweet friend, is far above my gifts,

Therefore, to equal it, receive my heart;

If for these dignities thou be envied,

I'll give thee more; for, but to honour thee,

Is Edward pleased with kingly regiment.

Fear'st thou thy person? thou shalt have a guard:

Wantest thou gold? go to my treasury:

Wouldst thou be loved and feared? receive my seal,

Save or condemn, and in our name command

Whatso thy mind affects, or fancy likes.

Gav.  It shall suffice me to enjoy your love,

Which whiles I have, I think myself as great

As Cæsar riding in the Roman street,

With captive kings at his triumphant car.

Enter the Bishop of Coventry.

 

K. Edw.  Whither goes my lord of Coventry so fast?

Bish. of Cov.  To celebrate your father's exequies.

But is that wicked Gaveston returned?

K. Edw.  Ay, priest, and lives to be revenged on thee,

That wert the only cause of his exile.

Gav.  'Tis true; and but for reverence of these robes,

Thou should’st not plod one foot beyond this place.

Bish. of Cov.  I did no more than I was bound to do;

And, Gaveston, unless thou be reclaimed,

As then I did incense the parliament,

So will I now, and thou shalt back to France.

Gav.  Saving your reverence, you must pardon me.

[Laying hands on the Bishop.]

K. Edw.  Throw off his golden mitre, rend his stole,

And in the channel christen him anew.

Kent.  Ah, brother, lay not violent hands on him!

For he'll complain unto the see of Rome.

Gav.  Let him complain unto the see of hell!

I'll be revenged on him for my exíle.

K. Edw.  No, spare his life, but seize upon his goods:

Be thou lord bishop and receive his rents,

And make him serve thee as thy chaplain:

I give him thee − here, use him as thou wilt.

Gav.  He shall to prison, and there die in bolts.

K. Edw.  Ay, to the Tower, the Fleet, or where thou wilt.

Bish. of Cov.  For this offense be thou accurst of God!

K. Edw.  Who's there? Convey this priest unto the Tower.

Bish. of Cov.  True, true.

K. Edw.  But in the meantime, Gaveston, away,

And take possession of his house and goods.

Come, follow me, and thou shalt have my guard

To see it done, and bring thee safe again.

Gav.  What should a priest do with so fair a house?

A prison may beseem his holiness.

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE II.

Enter on one side the two Mortimers;

on the other, Warwick and Lancaster.

War.  'Tis true, the bishop 's in the Tower,

And goods and body given to Gaveston.

Lanc.  What! Will they tyrannize upon the church?

Ah, wicked king! accursèd Gaveston!

This ground, which is corrupted with their steps,

Shall be their timeless sepulchre or mine.

Y. Mort.  Well, let that peevish Frenchman guard him sure;

Unless his breast be sword-proof, he shall die.

E. Mort.  How now! Why droops the Earl of Lancaster?

Y. Mort.  Wherefore is Guy of Warwick discontent?

Lanc.  That villain Gaveston is made an earl.

E. Mort.  An earl!

War.  Ay, and besides Lord Chamberlain of the realm,

And Secretary too, and Lord of Man.

E. Mort.  We may not, nor we will not suffer this.

Y. Mort.  Why post we not from hence to levy men?

Lanc.  "My Lord of Cornwall" now at every word!

And happy is the man whom he vouchsafes,

For vailing of his bonnet, one good look.

Thus, arm in arm, the king and he doth march:

Nay more, the guard upon his lordship waits;

And all the court begins to flatter him.

War.  Thus leaning on the shoulder of the king,

He nods and scorns and smiles at those that pass.

E. Mort.  Doth no man take exceptions at the slave?

Lanc.  All stomach him, but none dares speak a word.

Y. Mort.  Ah, that bewrays their baseness, Lancaster!

Were all the earls and barons of my mind,

We'd hale him from the bosom of the king,

And at the court-gate hang the peasant up,

Who, swoln with venom of ambitious pride,

Will be the ruin of the realm and us.

War.  Here comes my Lord of Canterbury's grace.

Lanc.  His countenance bewrays he is displeased.

Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury and an Attendant.

A. of Cant.  First, were his sacred garments rent and torn,

Then laid they violent hands upon him; next,

Himself imprisoned, and his goods asseized:

This certify the Pope; − away, take horse.

[Exit Attendant.]

Lanc.  My lord, will you take arms against the king?

A. of Cant.  What need I? God himself is up in arms,

When violence is offered to the church.

Y. Mort.  Then will you join with us, that be his peers,

To banish or behead that Gaveston?

A. of Cant.  What else, my lords? For it concerns me near;

The bishopric of Coventry is his.

Enter Queen Isabella.

Y. Mort.  Madam, whither walks your majesty so fast?

Q. Isab.  Unto the forest, gentle Mortimer,

To live in grief and baleful discontent;

For now my lord the king regards me not,

But dotes upon the love of Gaveston.

He claps his cheeks, and hangs about his neck,

Smiles in his face, and whispers in his ears;

And when I come, he frowns, as who should say,

"Go whither thou wilt, seeing I have Gaveston."

E. Mort.  Is it not strange that he is thus bewitched?

Y. Mort.  Madam, return unto the court again:

That sly inveigling Frenchman we'll exíle,

Or lose our lives; and yet, ere that day come,

The king shall lose his crown; for we have power,

And courage too, to be revenged at full.

A. of Cant.  But yet lift not your swords against the king.

Lanc.  No; but we will lift Gaveston from hence.

War.  And war must be the means, or he'll stay still.

Q. Isab.  Then let him stay; for rather than my lord

Shall be oppressed by civil mutinies,

I will endure a melancholy life,

And let him frolic with his miniön.

A. of Cant.  My lords, to ease all this, but hear me speak: −

We and the rest, that are his counsellors,

Will meet, and with a general consent

Confirm his banishment with our hands and seals.

Lanc.  What we confirm the king will frustrate.

Y. Mort.  Then may we lawfully revolt from him.

War.  But say, my lord, where shall this meeting be?

A. of Cant.  At the New Temple.

Y. Mort.  Content.

A. of Cant.  And in the meantime, I'll entreat you all

To cross to Lambeth, and there stay with me.

Lanc.  Come, then, let's away.

Y. Mort.  Madam, farewell.

Q. Isab.  Farewell, sweet Mortimer; and, for my sake,

Forbear to levy arms against the king.

Y. Mort.  Ay, if words will serve; if not, I must.

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE III.

Enter Gaveston and Kent.

Gav.  Edmund, the mighty Prince of Lancaster,

That hath more earldoms than an ass can bear,

And both the Mortimers, two goodly men,

With Guy of Warwick, that redoubted knight,

Are gone towards Lambeth − there let them remain.

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE IV.

Enter Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke,

the Elder Mortimer, Young Mortimer,

the Archbishop of Canterbury and Attendants.

Lanc.  Here is the form of Gaveston's exile;

May it please your lordship to subscribe your name.

A. of Cant.  Give me the paper.

[He subscribes, as the others do after him.]

Lanc.  Quick, quick, my lord; I long to write my name.

War.  But I long more to see him banished hence.

Y. Mort.  The name of Mortimer shall fright the king,

Unless he be declined from that base peasant.

   

Enter King Edward, Gaveston and Kent.

K. Edw.  What, are you moved that Gaveston sits here?

It is our pleasure; we will have it so.

Lanc.  Your grace doth well to place him by your side,

For nowhere else the new earl is so safe.

E. Mort.  What man of noble birth can brook this sight?

Quam male conveniunt! 

See what a scornful look the peasant casts!

Pemb.  Can kingly lions fawn on creeping ants?

War.  Ignoble vassal, that, like Phaëton,

Aspir'st unto the guidance of the sun!

Y. Mort.  Their downfall is at hand, their forces down:

We will not thus be faced and over-peered.

K. Edw.  Lay hands upon that traitor Mortimer!

E. Mort.  Lay hands upon that traitor Gaveston!

Kent.  Is this the duty that you owe your king?

War.  We know our duties − let him know his peers.

K. Edw.  Whither will you bear him? Stay, or ye shall die.

E. Mort.  We are no traitors; therefore threaten not.

Gav.  No, threaten not, my lord, but pay them home.

Were I a king −

Y. Mort.  Thou villain, wherefore talk'st thou of a king,

That hardly art a gentleman by birth?

K. Edw.  Were he a peasant, being my miniön,

I'll make the proudest of you stoop to him.

Lanc.  My lord, you may not thus disparage us. −

Away, I say, with hateful Gaveston!

E. Mort.  And with the Earl of Kent that favours him.

[Attendants remove Kent and Gaveston.]

K. Edw.  Nay, then, lay violent hands upon your king!

Here, Mortimer, sit thou in Edward's throne:

Warwick and Lancaster, wear you my crown.

Was ever king thus over-ruled as I?

Lanc.  Learn then to rule us better, and the realm.

Y. Mort.  What we have done, our heart-blood shall

     maintain.

War.  Think you that we can brook this upstart’s pride?

K. Edw.  Anger and wrathful fury stops my speech.

A. of Cant.  Why are you moved? Be patiënt, my lord,

And see what we your counsellors have done.

Y. Mort.  My lords, now let us all be resolute,

And either have our wills, or lose our lives.

K. Edw.  Meet you for this, proud overdaring peers?

Ere my sweet Gaveston shall part from me,

This isle shall fleet upon the ocean,

And wander to the unfrequented Inde.

A. of Cant.  You know that I am legate to the Pope;

On your allegiance to the see of Rome,

Subscribe, as we have done, to his exíle.

Y. Mort.  Curse him, if he refuse; and then may we

Depose him and elect another king.

K. Edw.  Ay, there it goes! But yet I will not yield:

Curse me, depose me, do the worst you can.

Lanc.  Then linger not, my lord, but do it straight.

A. of Cant.  Remember how the bishop was abused!

Either banish him that was the cause thereof,

Or I will presently discharge these lords

Of duty and allegiance due to thee.

K. Edw.  [Aside] It boots me not to threat; I must speak fair:

The legate of the Pope will be obeyed. −

My lord, you shall be Chancellor of the realm;

Thou, Lancaster, High Admiral of our fleet;

Young Mortimer and his uncle shall be earls;

And you, lord Warwick, President of the North;

And thou of Wales. If this content you not,

Make several kingdoms of this monarchy,

And share it equally amongst you all,

So I may have some nook or corner left,

To frolic with my dearest Gaveston.

A. of Cant.  Nothing shall alter us − we are resolved.

Lanc.  Come, come, subscribe.

Y. Mort.  Why should you love him whom the world

     hates so?

K. Edw.  Because he loves me more than all the world.

Ah, none but rude and savage-minded men

Would seek the ruin of my Gaveston;

You that be noble-born should pity him.

War.  You that are princely-born should shake him off:

For shame subscribe, and let the lown depart.

E. Mort.  Urge him, my lord.

A. of Cant.  Are you content to banish him the realm?

K. Edw.  I see I must, and therefore am content:

Instead of ink, I'll write it with my tears.

[Subscribes.]

Y. Mort.  The king is love-sick for his miniön.

K. Edw.  'Tis done − and now, accursèd hand, fall off!

Lanc.  Give it me − I'll have it published in the streets.

Y. Mort.  I'll see him presently despatched away.

A. of Cant.  Now is my heart at ease.

War.                                                 And so is mine.

Pemb.  This will be good news to the common sort.

E. Mort.  Be it or no, he shall not linger here.

[Exeunt all except King Edward.]

K. Edw.  How fast they run to banish him I love!

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,

With these thy superstitious taper-lights,

Wherewith thy antichristian churches blaze,

I'll fire thy crazèd 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.

   

Re-enter Gaveston.

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 shall 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

     greater:

Therefore, with dumb embracement, let us part −

Stay, Gaveston, I cannot leave thee thus.

Gav.  For every look, my lord 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 

I 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 affectiöns,

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 distressèd 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 my neck

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 doted Jove on Ganymede

So much as he on cursèd 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 dote on Gaveston;

And so am I for ever miserable.

  

Re-enter Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke,

the Elder Mortimer and Young Mortimer.

Lanc.  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.

Pemb.  Hard is the heart that injures such a saint.

Y. Mort.  I know 'tis ‘long of Gaveston she weeps.

E. Mort.  Why? he is gone.

Y. Mort.                    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. Mort.  Cry quittance, madam, then, and love not him.

Q. Isab.  No, rather will I die a thousand deaths:

And yet I love in vain; − he'll ne'er love me.

Lanc.  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 unto you all for his repeal:

This wills my lord, and this must I perform,

Or else be banished from his highness' presence.

Lanc.  For his repeal, madám! 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. Mort.  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. Mort.  What! would you have me plead for Gaveston?

E. Mort.  Plead for him he that will, I am resolved.

Lanc.  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.

Pemb.  No speaking will prevail; and therefore cease.

Y. Mort.  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 a while,

And I will tell thee reasons of such weight

As thou wilt soon subscribe to his repeal.

Y. Mort.  It is impossible; but speak your mind.

Q. Isab.  Then thus; but none shall hear it but ourselves.

[Talks to Young Mortimer apart.]

Lanc.  My lords, albeit the queen win Mortimer,

Will you be resolute, and hold with me?

E. Mort.  Not I, against my nephew.

Pemb.  Fear not; the queen's words cannot alter him.

War.  No? Do but mark how earnestly she pleads!

Lanc.  And see how coldly his looks make denial!

War.  She smiles; now, for my life, his mind is changed!

Lanc.  I'll rather lose his friendship, I, than grant.

Y. Mort.  Well, of necessity it must be so. −

My lords, that I abhor base Gaveston,

I hope your honours make no questiön,

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.

Lanc.  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. Mort.  My lord of Lancaster, mark the respect.

Lanc.  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. Mort.  Do you not wish that Gaveston were dead?

Pemb.  I would he were!

Y. Mort.  Why then, my lord, give me but leave to speak.

E. Mort.  But, nephew, do not play the sophister.

Y. Mort.  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. Mort.  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 enroll his name

For purging of the realm of such a plague!

Pemb.  He saith true.

Lanc.  Ay, but how chance this was not done before?

Y. Mort.  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 t’ offend the meanest nobleman.

E. Mort.  But how if he do not, nephew?

Y. Mort.  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 shall we have the people of our side,

Which for his father's sake lean to the king,

But cannot 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.

Lanc.  On that condition, Lancaster will grant.

Pemb.  And so will Pembroke.

War.  And I.

E. Mort.  And I.

Y. Mort.  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

Than he can Gaveston; would he loved me

But half so much, then were I treble-blessed!

Re-enter King Edward, mourning.

K. Edw.  He's gone, and for his absence thus I mourn.

Did never sorrow go so near my heart

As doth the want of my sweet Gaveston;

And, could my crown's revénue bring him back,

I would freely give it to his enemies,

And think I gained, having bought so dear a friend.

Q. Isab.  Hark, how he harps upon his miniön!

K. Edw.  My heart is as an anvil unto sorrow,

Which beats upon it like the Cyclops' hammers,

And with the noise turns up my giddy brain,

And makes me frantic for my Gaveston.

Ah! had some bloodless Fury rose from hell,

And with my kingly sceptre struck me dead,

When I was forced to leave my Gaveston!

Lanc.  Diablo! What passions call you these?

Q. Isab.  My gracious lord, I come to bring you news.

K. Edw.  That you have parleyed with your Mortimer!

Q. Isab.  That Gaveston, my lord, shall be repealed.

K. Edw.  Repealed! The news is too sweet to be true!

Q. Isab.  But will you love me, if you find it so?

K. Edw.  If it be so, what will not Edward do?

Q. Isab.  For Gaveston, but not for Isabel.

K. Edw.  For thee, fair queen, if thou lovest Gaveston;

I'll hang a golden tongue about thy neck,

Seeing thou hast pleaded with so good success.

Q. Isab.  No other jewèls hang about my neck

Than these, my lord; nor let me have more wealth

Than I may fetch from this rich treasury. −

O, how a kiss revives poor Isabel!

K. Edw.  Once more receive my hand; and let this be

A second marriage 'twixt thyself and me.

Q. Isab.  And may it prove more happy than the first!

My gentle lord, bespeak these nobles fair,

That wait attendance for a gracious look,

And on their knees salute your majesty.

K. Edw.  Courageous Lancaster, embrace thy king!

And, as gross vapours perish by the sun,

Even so let hatred with thy sovereign's smile.

Live thou with me as my companiön.

Lanc.  This salutation overjoys my heart.

K. Edw.  Warwick shall be my chiefest counselor:

These silver hairs will more adorn my court

Than gaudy silks, or rich embroidery.

Chide me, sweet Warwick, if I go astray.

War.  Slay me, my lord, when I offend your grace.

K. Edw.  In solemn triumphs and in public shows,

Pembroke shall bear the sword before the king.

Pemb.  And with this sword Pembroke will fight for you.

K. Edw.  But wherefore walks young Mortimer aside?

Be thou commander of our royal fleet;

Or, if that lofty office like thee not,

I make thee here Lord Marshal of the realm.

Y. Mort.  My lord, I'll marshal so your enemies,

As England shall be quiet, and you safe.

K. Edw.  And as for you, Lord Mortimer of Chirke,

Whose great achievements in our foreign war

Deserve no common place, nor mean reward,

Be you the general of the levied troops,

That now are ready to assail the Scots.

E. Mort.  In this your grace hath highly honoured me,

For with my nature war doth best agree.

Q. Isab.  Now is the king of England rich and strong,

Having the love of his renownèd peers.

K. Edw.  Ay, Isabel, ne'er was my heart so light. −

Clerk of the crown, direct our warrant forth

For Gaveston, to Ireland:

Enter Beaumont with warrant.

                                     Beaumont fly,

As fast as Iris or Jove's Mercury.

Beau.  It shall be done, my gracious lord.

[Exit.]

K. Edw.  Lord Mortimer, we leave you to your charge.

Now let us in, and feast it royally.

Against our friend the Earl of Cornwall comes,

We'll have a general tilt and tournament;

And then his marriage shall be solemnized;

For wot you not that I have made him sure

Unto our cousin, the Earl of Gloucester's heir?

Lanc.  Such news we hear, my lord.

K. Edw.  That day, if not for him, yet for my sake,

Who in the triumph will be challenger,

Spare for no cost; we will requite your love.

War.  In this, or aught your highness shall command us.

K. Edw.  Thanks, gentle Warwick. Come, let's in and revel.

[Exeunt all except the Mortimers.]

E. Mort.  Nephew, I must to Scotland: thou stayest here.

Leave now t’ oppose thyself against the king:

Thou seest by nature he is mild and calm,

And, seeing his mind so dotes on Gaveston,

Let him without controlment have his will.

The mightiest kings have had their miniöns:

Great Alexander loved Hephaestiön,

The conquering Hercules for Hylas wept,

And for Patroclus stern Achilles drooped.

And not kings only, but the wisest men:

The Roman Tully loved Octavius;

Grave Socrates wild Alcibiades.

Then let his grace, whose youth is flexible,

And promiseth as much as we can wish,

Freely enjoy that vain lightheaded earl;

For riper years will wean him from such toys.

Y. Mort.  Uncle, his wanton humour grieves not me;

But this I scorn, that one so basely born

Should by his sovereign's favour grow so pert,

And riot it with the treasure of the realm,

While soldiers mutiny for want of pay.

He wears a lord's revénue on his back,

And, Midas-like, he jets it in the court,

With base outlandish cullions at his heels,

Whose proud fantastic liveries make such show,

As if that Proteus, god of shapes, appeared.

I have not seen a dapper Jack so brisk;

He wears a short Italian hooded cloak,

Larded with pearl, and in his Tuscan cap

A jewèl of more value than the crown.

While others walk below, the king and he

From out a window laugh at such as we,

And flout our train, and jest at our attire.

Uncle, 'tis this that makes me impatient.

E. Mort.  But, nephew, now you see the king is changed.

Y. Mort.  Then so am I, and live to do him service:

But whiles I have a sword, a hand, a heart,

I will not yield to any such upstart.

You know my mind: come, uncle, let's away.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

SCENE I.

Enter Young Spenser and Baldock.

Bald.  Spenser,

Seeing that our lord the Earl of Gloucester's dead,

Which of the nobles dost thou mean to serve?

Spen.  Not Mortimer, nor any of his side,

Because the king and he are enemies.

Baldock, learn this of me: a factious lord

Shall hardly do himself good, much less us;

But he that hath the favour of a king,

May with one word advance us while we live:

The liberal Earl of Cornwall is the man

On whose good fortune Spenser's hope depends.

Bald.  What, mean you then to be his follower?

Y. Spen.  No, his companion; for he loves me well,

And would have once preferred me to the king.

Bald.  But he is banished; there's small hope of him.

Y. Spen.  Ay, for a while; but, Baldock, mark the end.

A friend of mine told me in secrecy

That he's repealed and sent for back again;

And even now a post came from the court

With letters to our lady from the king;

And as she read she smiled, which makes me think

It is about her lover Gaveston.

Bald.  'Tis like enough; for, since he was exíled,

She neither walks abroad, nor comes in sight.

But I had thought the match had been broke off,

And that his banishment had changed her mind.

Y. Spen.  Our lady's first love is not wavering;

My life for thine, she will have Gaveston.

Bald.  Then hope I by her means to be preferred,

Having read unto her since she was a child.

Y. Spen.  Then, Baldock, you must cast the scholar off,

And learn to court it like a gentleman.

'Tis not a black coat and a little band,

A velvet-caped cloak, faced before with serge,

And smelling to a nosegay all the day,

Or holding of a napkin in your hand,

Or saying a long grace at a table's end,

Or making low legs to a nobleman,

Or looking downward with your eyelids close,

And saying, "Truly, an't may please your honour,"

Can get you any favour with great men;

You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute,

And now and then stab, as occasion serves.

Bald.  Spenser, thou know’st I hate such formal toys,

And use them but of mere hypocrisy.

Mine old lord whiles he lived was so precise,

That he would take exceptions at my buttons,

And being like pins' heads, blame me for the bigness;

Which made me curate-like in mine attire,

Though inwardly licentiöus enough,

And apt for any kind of villainy.

I am none of these common pedants, I,

That cannot speak without propterea quod

Y. Spen.  But one of those that saith, quandoquidem

And hath a special gift to form a verb.

Bald.  Leave off this jesting, here my lady comes.

Enter King Edward’s Niece (Margaret).

Marg.  The grief for his exíle was not so much,

As is the joy of his returning home.

This letter came from my sweet Gaveston: −

What needst thou, love, thus to excuse thyself?

I know thou couldst not come and visit me:

[Reads] “I will not long be from thee, though I die.”

This argues the entire love of my lord;

[Reads] “When I forsake thee, death seize on my heart.”

But rest thee here where Gaveston shall sleep.

[Puts the letter into her bosom.]

Now to the letter of my lord the king. −

He wills me to repair unto the court

And meet my Gaveston? Why do I stay,

Seeing that he talks thus of my marriage-day? −

Who's there? Baldock!

See that my coach be ready, I must hence.

Bald.  It shall be done, madam.

Marg.  And meet me at the park pale presently.

[Exit Baldock.]

Spenser, stay you and bear me company,

For I have joyful news to tell thee of;

My lord of Cornwall is a-coming over,

And will be at the court as soon as we.

Y. Spen.  I knew the king would have him home again.

Marg.  If all things sort out, as I hope they will,

Thy service, Spenser, shall be thought upon.

Y. Spen.  I humbly thank your ladyship.

Marg.  Come lead the way, I long till I am there.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE II.

Enter King Edward, Queen Isabella, Kent, Lancaster,

Young Mortimer, Warwick, Pembroke, and Attendants.

 

K. Edw.  The wind is good, I wonder why he stays;

I fear me he is wrecked upon the sea.

Q. Isab.  Look, Lancaster, how passionate he is,

And still his mind runs on his miniön!

Lanc.  My lord. −

K. Edw.  How now! what news? is Gaveston arrived?

Y. Mort.  Nothing but Gaveston! What means your grace?

You have matters of more weight to think upon;

The king of France sets foot in Normandy.

K. Edw.  A trifle! We'll expel him when we please.

But tell me Mortimer, what's thy device,

Against the stately triumph we decreed?

Y. Mort.  A homely one, my lord, not worth the telling.

K. Edw.  Pray thee let me know it.

Y. Mort.  But seeing you are so desirous, thus it is:

A lofty cedar-tree, fair flourishing,

On whose top-branches kingly eagles perch,

And by the bark a canker creeps me up,

And gets unto the highest bough of all.

The motto: Æque tandem

K. Edw.  And what is yours, my lord of Lancaster?

Lanc.  My lord, mine's more obscure than Mortimer's.

Pliny reports there is a flying fish

Which all the other fishes deadly hate,

And therefore, being pursued, it takes the air:

No sooner is it up, but there's a fowl

That seizeth it: this fish, my lord, I bear,

The motto this: Undique mors est

K. Edw.  Proud Mortimer! ungentle Lancaster!

Is this the love you bear your sovereign?

Is this the fruit your reconcilement bears?

Can you in words make show of amity,

And in your shields display your rancourous minds!

What call you this but private libelling

Against the Earl of Cornwall and my brother?

Q. Isab.  Sweet husband, be content; they all love you.

K. Edw.  They love me not that hate my Gaveston.

I am that cedar; shake me not too much;

And you the eagles; soar ye ne'er so high,

I have the jesses that will pull you down;

And Æque tandem shall that canker cry

Unto the proudest peer of Brittany.

Though thou compar'st him to a flying fish,

And threatenest death whether he rise or fall,

'Tis not the hugest monster of the sea,

Nor foulest harpy that shall swallow him.

Y. Mort.  If in his absence thus he favours him,

What will he do whenas he shall be present?

Lanc.  That shall we see; look, where his lordship comes!

Enter Gaveston.

K. Edw.  My Gaveston!

Welcome to Tynemouth! Welcome to thy friend!

Thy absence made me droop and pine away;

For, as the lovers of fair Danaë,

When she was locked up in a brazen tower,

Desired her more, and waxed outrageöus,

So did it fare with me: and now thy sight

Is sweeter far than was thy parting hence

Bitter and irksome to my sobbing heart.

Gav.  Sweet lord and king, your speech preventeth mine,

Yet have I words left to express my joy:

The shepherd nipped with biting winter's rage

Frolics not more to see the painted spring

Than I do to behold your majesty.

K. Edw.  Will none of you salute my Gaveston?

Lanc.  Salute him? Yes; welcome, Lord Chamberlain!

Y. Mort.  Welcome is the good Earl of Cornwall!

War.  Welcome, Lord Governor of the Isle of Man!

Pemb.  Welcome, master Secretary!

Kent.  Brother, do you hear them?

K. Edw.  Still will these earls and barons use me thus?

Gav.  My lord, I cannot brook these injuries.

Q. Isab.  [Aside] Ay me, poor soul, when these begin to jar!

K. Edw.  Return it to their throats, I'll be thy warrant.

Gav.  Base, leaden earls, that glory in your birth,

Go sit at home and eat your tenants' beef;

And come not here to scoff at Gaveston,

Whose mounting thoughts did never creep so low

As to bestow a look on such as you.

Lanc.  Yet I disdain not to do this for you.

[Draws his sword and offers to stab Gaveston.]

K. Edw.  Treason, treason! Where's the traitor?

Pemb.  Here, here!

K. Edw.  Convey hence Gaveston; they'll murder him.

Gav.  The life of thee shall salve this foul disgrace.

Y. Mort.  Villain! thy life unless I miss mine aim.

[Wounds Gaveston.]

Q. Isab.  Ah! furious Mortimer, what hast thou done?

Y. Mort.  No more than I would answer, were he slain.

[Exit Gaveston with Attendants.]

K. Edw.  Yes, more than thou canst answer, though he live;

Dear shall you both abide this riotous deed.

Out of my presence! Come not near the court.

Y. Mort.  I'll not be barred the court for Gaveston.

Lanc.  We'll hale him by the ears unto the block.

K. Edw.  Look to your own heads; his is sure enough.

War.  Look to your own crown, if you back him thus.

Kent.  Warwick, these words do ill beseem thy years.

K. Edw.  Nay, all of them conspire to cross me thus;

But if I live, I'll tread upon their heads

That think with high looks thus to tread me down.

Come, Edmund, let's away, and levy men;

'Tis war that must abate these barons' pride.

[Exit King Edward, Queen Isabella, and Kent.]

War.  Let's to our castles, for the king is moved.

Y. Mort.  Moved may he be, and perish in his wrath!

Lanc.  Cousin, it is no dealing with him now;

He means to make us stoop by force of arms;

And therefore let us jointly here protest,

To prosecute that Gaveston to the death.

Y. Mort.  By Heaven, the abject villain shall not live!

War.  I'll have his blood, or die in seeking it.

Pemb.  The like oath Pembroke takes.

Lanc.  And so doth Lancaster.

Now send our heralds to defy the king;

And make the people swear to put him down.

[Enter a Messenger.]

Y. Mort.  Letters! From whence?

Mess.  From Scotland, my lord.

[Giving letters to Mortimer.]

Lanc.  Why, how now, cousin, how fare all our friends?

Y. Mort.  My uncle's taken prisoner by the Scots.

Lanc.  We'll have him ransomed, man; be of good cheer.

Y. Mort.  They rate his ransom at five thousand pound.

Who should defray the money but the king,

Seeing he is taken prisoner in his wars?

I'll to the king.

Lanc.  Do, cousin, and I'll bear thee company.

War.  Meantime, my lord of Pembroke and myself

Will to Newcastle here, and gather head.

Y. Mort.  About it then, and we will follow you.

Lanc.  Be resolute and full of secrecy.

War.  I warrant you.

[Exit with Pembroke.]

Y. Mort.  Cousin, and if he will not ransom him,

I'll thunder such a peal into his ears,

As never subject did unto his king.

Lanc.  Content, I'll bear my part – Holla! who's there?

Enter Guard.

Y. Mort.  Ay, marry, such a guard as this doth well.

Lanc.  Lead on the way.

Guard.  Whither will your lordships?

Y. Mort.  Whither else but to the king?

Guard.  His highness is disposed to be alone.

Lanc.  Why, so he may, but we will speak to him.

Guard.  You may not in, my lord.

Y. Mort.  May we not?

Enter King Edward and Kent.

K. Edw.  How now!

What noise is this? who have we there, is't you?

[Going.]

Y. Mort.  Nay, stay, my lord, I come to bring you news;

Mine uncle's taken prisoner by the Scots.

K. Edw.  Then ransom him.

Lanc.  'Twas in your wars; you should ransom him.

Y. Mort.  And you shall ransom him, or else −

Kent.  What! Mortimer, you will not threaten him?

K. Edw.  Quiet yourself, you shall have the broad seal,

To gather for him throughout the realm. 

Lanc.  Your minion Gaveston hath taught you this.

Y. Mort.  My lord, the family of the Mortimers

Are not so poor, but, would they sell their land,

'Twould levy men enough to anger you.

We never beg, but use such prayers as these.

[Striking his sword.]

K. Edw.  Shall I still be haunted thus?

Y. Mort.  Nay, now you’re here alone, I'll speak my mind.

Lanc.  And so will I, and then, my lord, farewell.

Y. Mort.  The idle triumphs, masks, lascivious shows,

And prodigal gifts bestowed on Gaveston,

Have drawn thy treasure dry, and made thee weak;

The murmuring commons, overstretchèd, break.

Lanc.  Look for rebellion, look to be deposed;

Thy garrisons are beaten out of France,

And, lame and poor, lie groaning at the gates.

The wild Oneyl, with swarms of Irish kerns,

Lives uncontrolled within the English pale.

Unto the walls of York the Scots make road,

And unresisted draw away rich spoils.

Y. Mort.  The haughty Dane commands the narrow seas,

While in the harbour ride thy ships unrigged.

Lanc.  What foreign prince sends thee ambassadors?

Y. Mort.  Who loves thee, but a sort of flatterers?

Lanc.  Thy gentle queen, sole sister to Valois,

Complains that thou hast left her all forlorn.

Y. Mort.  Thy court is naked, being bereft of those

That make a king seem glorious to the world;

I mean the peers, whom thou shouldst dearly love:

Libels are cast again thee in the street;

Ballads and rhymes made of thy overthrow.

Lanc.  The northern borderers, seeing the houses burnt,

Their wives and children slain, run up and down,

Cursing the name of thee and Gaveston.

Y. Mort.  When wert thou in the field with banner spread,

But once? and then thy soldiers marched like players,

With garish robes, not armour; and thyself,

Bedaubed with gold, rode laughing at the rest,

Nodding and shaking of thy spangled crest,

Where women's favours hung like labels down.

Lanc.  And thereof came it, that the fleering Scots,

To England's high disgrace, have made this jig;

    

“Maids of England, sore may you mourn, −

    For your lemans you have lost at Bannocksbourn, −

        With a heave and a ho!

    What weeneth the king of England

    So soon to have won Scotland? −

        With a rombelow!”

Y. Mort.  Wigmore shall fly, to set my uncle free.

Lanc.  And when 'tis gone, our swords shall purchase more.

If ye be moved, revenge it as you can;

Look next to see us with our ensigns spread

[Exit with Young Mortimer.]

K. Edw.  My swelling heart for very anger breaks!

How oft have I been baited by these peers,

And dare not be revengèd, for their power is great!

Yet, shall the crowing of these cockerels

Affright a lion? Edward, unfold thy paws,

And let their lives' blood slake thy fury's hunger.

If I be cruèl and grow tyrannous,

Now let them thank themselves, and rue too late.

Kent.  My lord, I see your love to Gaveston

Will be the ruin of the realm and you,

For now the wrathful nobles threaten wars;

And therefore, brother, banish him forever.

K. Edw.  Art thou an enemy to my Gaveston?

Kent.  Ay, and it grieves me that I favoured him.

K. Edw.  Traitor, begone! Whine thou with Mortimer.

Kent.  So will I, rather than with Gaveston.

K. Edw.  Out of my sight, and trouble me no more!

Kent.  No marvel though thou scorn thy noble peers,

When I thy brother am rejected thus.

[Exit Kent.]

K. Edw.  Away! −

Poor Gaveston, that hast no friend but me,

Do what they can, we'll live in Tynemouth here;

And, so I walk with him about the walls,

What care I though the earls begirt us round? −

Here comes she that is cause of all these jars.

   

Enter Queen Isabella with King Edward’s Niece

(Margaret de Clare), two Ladies-in-Waiting,

Gaveston, Baldock, and Young Spenser.

 

Q. Isab.  My lord, 'tis thought the earls are up in arms.

K. Edw.  Ay, and 'tis likewise thought you favour 'em.

Q. Isab.  Thus do you still suspect me without cause?

Marg.  Sweet uncle! speak more kindly to the queen.

Gav.  My lord, dissemble with her, speak her fair.

K. Edw.  Pardon me, sweet, I had forgot myself.

Q. Isab.  Your pardon 's quickly got of Isabel.

K. Edw.  The younger Mortimer is grown so brave,

That to my face he threatens civil wars.

Gav.  Why do you not commit him to the Tower?

K. Edw.  I dare not, for the people love him well.

Gav.  Why, then we'll have him privily made away.

K. Edw.  Would Lancaster and he had both caroused

A bowl of poison to each other's health!

But let them go, and tell me what are these.

Marg.  Two of my father's servants whilst he lived, −

May't please your grace to entertain them now.

K. Edw.  Tell me, where wast thou born? what is thine

     arms?

Bald.  My name is Baldock, and my gentry

I fetch'd from Oxford, not from heraldry.

K. Edw.  The fitter art thou, Baldock, for my turn.

Wait on me, and I'll see thou shalt not want.

Bald.  I humbly thank your majesty.

K. Edw.  Knowest thou him, Gaveston?

Gav.                                               Ay, my lord;

His name is Spenser, he is well allied.

For my sake, let him wait upon your grace;

Scarce shall you find a man of more desert.

K. Edw.  Then, Spenser, wait upon me. For his sake

I'll grace thee with a higher style ere long.

Spen.  No greater titles happen unto me,

Than to be favoured of your majesty!

K. Edw.  Cousin, this day shall be your marriage-feast;

And, Gaveston, think that I love thee well,

To wed thee to our niece, the only heir

Unto the Earl of Gloucester late deceased.

Gav.  I know, my lord, many will stomach me,

But I respect neither their love nor hate.

K. Edw.  The headstrong barons shall not limit me;

He that I list to favour shall be great.

Come, let's away; and, when the marriage ends,

Have at the rebels, and their 'complices!

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE III.

Enter Kent, Lancaster, Young Mortimer, Warwick,

Pembroke, and others.

Kent.  My lords, of love to this our native land

I come to join with you and leave the king;

And in your quarrel and the realm's behoof

Will be the first that shall adventure life.

Lanc.  I fear me, you are sent of policy,

To undermine us with a show of love.

War.  He is your brother; therefore have we cause

To cast the worst, and doubt of your revolt.

Kent.  Mine honour shall be hostage of my truth:

If that will not suffice, farewell, my lords.

Y. Mort.  Stay, Edmund: never was Plantagenet

False of his word, and therefore trust we thee.

Pemb.  But what's the reason you should leave him now?

Kent.  I have informed the Earl of Lancaster.

Lanc.  And it sufficeth. Now, my lords, know this,

That Gaveston is secretly arrived,

And here in Tynemouth frolics with the king.

Let us with these our followers scale the walls,

And suddenly surprise them unawares.

Y. Mort.  I'll give the onset.

War.                                   And I'll follow thee.

Y. Mort.  This tottered ensign of my ancestors,

Which swept the desert shore of that dead sea

Whereof we got the name of Mortimer,

Will I advance upon these castle’s walls. −

Drums, strike alarum, raise them from their sport,

And ring aloud the knell of Gaveston!

Lanc.  None be so hardy as to touch the king;

But neither spare you Gaveston nor his friends.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE IV.

Enter severally King Edward and Young Spenser.

K. Edw.  O tell me, Spenser, where is Gaveston?

Spen.  I fear me he is slain, my gracious lord.

K. Edw.  No, here he comes; now let them spoil and kill.

Enter Queen Isabella, King Edward’s Niece,

Gaveston, and Nobles.

Fly, fly, my lords, the earls have got the hold;

Take shipping, and away to Scarborough.

Spenser and I will post away by land.

Gav.  O stay, my lord, they will not injure you.

K. Edw.  I will not trust them; Gaveston, away!

Gav.  Farewell, my lord.

K. Edw.  Lady, farewell.

Marg.  Farewell, sweet uncle, till we meet again.

K. Edw.  Farewell, sweet Gaveston; and farewell, niece.

Q. Isab.  No farewell to poor Isabel thy queen?

K. Edw.  Yes, yes, for Mortimer, your lover's sake.

Q. Isab.  Heavèn can witness I love none but you.

[Exeunt all but Queen Isabella.]

From my embracements thus he breaks away.

O that mine arms could close this isle about,

That I might pull him to me where I would!

Or that these tears, that drizzle from mine eyes,

Had power to mollify his stony heart,

That, when I had him, we might never part.

  

Enter Lancaster, Warwick, Young Mortimer,

and others. Alurums within.

Lanc.  I wonder how he scaped!

Y. Mort.                                Who's this? The queen!

Q. Isab.  Ay, Mortimer, the miserable queen,

Whose pining heart her inward sighs have blasted,

And body with continual mourning wasted:

These hands are tired with haling of my lord

From Gaveston, from wicked Gaveston,

And all in vain; for, when I speak him fair,

He turns away, and smiles upon his miniön.

Y. Mort.  Cease to lament, and tell us where's the king?

Q. Isab.  What would you with the king? Is't him you seek?

Lanc.  No, madam, but that cursèd Gaveston.

Far be it from the thought of Lancaster

To offer violence to his sovereign!

We would but rid the realm of Gaveston:

Tell us where he remains, and he shall die.

Q. Isab.  He's gone by water unto Scarborough;

Pursue him quickly, and he cannot 'scape;

The king hath left him, and his train is small.

War.  Forslow no time, sweet Lancaster; let's march.

Y. Mort.  How comes it that the king and he is parted?

Q. Isab.  That thus your army, going several ways,

Might be of lesser force, and with the power

That he intendeth presently to raise,

Be easily suppressed; therefore be gone!

Y. Mort.  Here in the river rides a Flemish hoy;

Let's all aboard, and follow him amain.

Lanc.  The wind that bears him hence will fill our sails:

Come, come, aboard, 'tis but an hour's sailing.

Y. Mort.  Madam, stay you within this castle here.

Q. Isab.  No, Mortimer; I'll to my lord the king.

Y. Mort.  Nay, rather sail with us to Scarborough.

Q. Isab.  You know the king is so suspiciöus,

As if he hear I have but talked with you,

Mine honour will be called in questiön;

And therefore, gentle Mortimer, be gone.

Y. Mort.  Madam, I cannot stay to answer you,

But think of Mortimer as he deserves.

[Exeunt all except Queen Isabella.]

Q. Isab.  So well hast thou deserved, sweet Mortimer,

As Isabel could live with thee forever.

In vain I look for love at Edward's hand,

Whose eyes are fixed on none but Gaveston.

Yet once more I'll impórtune him with prayer:

If he be strange and not regard my words,

My son and I will over into France,

And to the king my brother there complain,

How Gaveston hath robbed me of his love:

But yet I hope my sorrows will have end,

And Gaveston this blessèd day be slain.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II, SCENE V.

Enter Gaveston, pursued.

Gav.  Yet, lusty lords, I have escaped your hands,

Your threats, your larums, and your hot pursuits;

And though divorcèd from king Edward's eyes,

Yet liveth Pierce of Gaveston unsurprised,

Breathing, in hope (malgrado all your beards,

That muster rebels thus against your king),

To see his royal sovereign once again.

Enter Warwick, Lancaster, Pembroke,