London. A room of state in the palace.
(King Edward; Derby; Prince Edward; Audley; Artois; Lords; Lorraine; Mountague)
Robert of Artois, exiled from France, is created Earl of Richmond by King Edward. In return, Artois lays out a genealogy that permits Edward to claim the throne of France. The Duke of Lorraine arrives from France to request Edward to do homage to King John for the Duchy of Guyenne — an idea Edward finds laughable. Mutual threats are exchanged, and war between France and England declared. Meanwhile, Edward receives news that despite a truce, the Scots have invaded England and trapped the Countess of Salisbury in her castle. Edward sends his son and noblemen to prepare for the invasion of France while he takes care of the Scots. The Prince of Wales is delighted. (169 lines)
Enter King Edward, Derby, Prince Edward, Audley, and Artois.
Robert of Artois, banished though thou be
From France, thy native Country, yet with us
Thou shalt retain as great a Seigniorie:
For we create thee Earl of Richmond here.
And now go forwards with our pedigree:
Who next succeeded Philip le Bew?
Three sons of his, which all successfully
Did sit upon their father’s regal throne,
Yet died, and left no issue of their loins.
But was my mother sister unto those?
She was, my lord; and only Isabel
Was all the daughters that this Philip had,
Whom afterward your father took to wife;
And from the fragrant garden of her womb
Your gracious self, the flower of Europe’s hope,
Derived is inheritor to France.
But note the rancor of rebellious minds:
When thus the lineage of le Bew was out,
The French obscured your mother’s privilege,
And, though she were the next of blood, proclaimed
John, of the house of Valois, now their king:
The reason was, they say, the realm of France,
Replete with princes of great parentage,
Ought not admit a governor to rule,
Except he be descended of the male;
And that’s the special ground of their contempt,
Wherewith they study to exclude your grace:
But they shall find that forged ground of theirs
To be but dusty heaps of brittle sand.
Perhaps it will be thought a heinous thing,
That I, a Frenchman, should discover this;
But heaven I call to record of my vows:
It is not hate nor any private wrong,
But love unto my country and the right,
Provokes my tongue, thus lavish in report.
You are the lineal watchman of our peace,
And John of Valois indirectly climbs;
What then should subjects but embrace their King?
Ah, where in may our duty more be seen,
Than striving to rebate a tyrant’s pride
And place the true shepherd of our commonwealth?
This counsel, Artois, like to fruitful showers,
Hath added growth unto my dignity;
And, by the fiery vigor of thy words,
Hot courage is engendered in my breast,
Which heretofore was raked in ignorance,
But now doth mount with golden wings of fame,
And will approve fair Isabel’s descent,
Able to yoke their stubborn necks with steel,
That spurn against my sovereignty in France.
Sound a horn.
A messenger?—Lord Audley, know from whence.
Exit Audley, and returns.
The Duke of Lorraine, having crossed the seas,
Entreats he may have conference with your highness.
Admit him, lords, that we may hear the news.
King takes his State.
Re-enter lords; with Lorraine, attended.
Say, Duke of Lorraine, wherefore art thou come?
The most renowned prince, King John of France,
Doth greet thee, Edward, and by me commands,
That, for so much as by his liberal gift
The Guyen Dukedom is entailed to thee,
Thou do him lowly homage for the same.
And, for that purpose, here I summon thee,
Repair to France within these forty days,
That there, according as the custom is,
Thou mayst be sworn true liegeman to our King;
Or else thy title in that province dies,
And he himself will repossess the place.
See, how occasion laughs me in the face!
No sooner minded to prepare for France,
But straight I am invited,—nay, with threats,
Upon a penalty, enjoined to come:
’Twere but a childish part to say him nay.—
Lorraine, return this answer to thy lord:
I mean to visit him as he requests;
But how? Not servilely disposed to bend,
But like a conqueror to make him bow.
His lame unpolished shifts are come to light;
And truth hath pulled the vizard from his face,
That set a gloss upon his arrogance.
Dare he command a fealty in me?
Tell him, the Crown that he usurps, is mine,
And where he sets his foot, he ought to kneel.
’Tis not a petty dukedom that I claim,
But all the whole dominions of the realm;
Which if with grudging he refuse to yield,
I’ll take away those borrowed plumes of his,
And send him naked to the wilderness.
Then, Edward, here, in spite of all thy lords,
I do pronounce defiance to thy face.
Defiance, Frenchman? We rebound it back,
Even to the bottom of thy master’s throat.
And, be it spoke with reverence of the king,
My gracious father, and these other lords,
I hold thy message but as scurrilous,
And him that sent thee, like the lazy drone,
Crept up by stealth unto the eagle’s nest;
From whence we’ll shake him with so rough a storm,
As others shall be warned by his harm.
Bid him leave of the lion’s case he wears,
Least, meeting with the lion in the field,
He chance to tear him piecemeal for his pride.
The soundest counsel I can give his grace,
Is to surrender ere he be constrained.
A voluntary mischief hath less scorn,
Than when reproach with violence is borne.
Degenerate traitor, viper to the place
Where thou was fostered in thine infancy,
Bearest thou a part in this conspiracy?
He draws his sword.
Lorraine, behold the sharpness of this steel:
Fervent desire that sits against my heart,
Is far more thorny pricking than this blade;
That, with the nightingale, I shall be scared,
As oft as I dispose myself to rest,
Until my colours be displayed in France:
This is my final answer; so be gone.
It is not that, nor any English brave,
Afflicts me so, as doth his poisoned view,
That is most false, should most of all be true.
Exeunt Lorraine, and Train.
Now, lord, our fleeting bark is under sail;
Our gage is thrown, and war is soon begun,
But not so quickly brought unto an end.
But wherefore comes Sir William Mountague?
How stands the league between the Scot and us?
Cracked and dissevered, my renowned lord.
The treacherous King no sooner was informed
Of your with drawing of your army back,
But straight, forgetting of his former oath,
He made invasion on the bordering Towns:
Barwick is won, Newcastle spoiled and lost,
And now the tyrant hath begirt with siege
The castle of Rocksborough, where enclos’d
The Countess Salisbury is like to perish.
That is thy daughter, Warwick, is it not?
Whose husband hath in Britain served so long
About the planting of Lord Mountford there?
It is, my lord.
Ignoble David, hast thou none to grieve
But silly Ladies with thy threatening arms?
But I will make you shrink your snaily horns!
First, therefore, Audley, this shall be thy charge,
Go levy footmen for our wars in France;
And, Ned, take muster of our men at arms:
In every shire elect a several band.
Let them be Soldiers of a lusty spirit,
Such as dread nothing but dishonor’s blot;
Be wary, therefore, since we do commence
A famous war, and with so mighty a nation.
Derby, be thou ambassador for us
Unto our father in law, the Earl of Henalt:
Make him acquainted with our enterprise,
And likewise will him, with our own allies
That are in Flanders, to solicit to
The Emperor of Almaigne in our name.
Myself, whilst you are jointly thus employed,
Will, with these forces that I have at hand,
March, and once more repulse the traitorous Scot.
But, Sirs, be resolute: we shall have wars
On every side; and, Ned, thou must begin
Now to forget thy study and thy books,
And ure thy shoulders to an armor’s weight.
As cheerful sounding to my youthful spleen
This tumult is of war’s increasing broils,
As, at the coronation of a king,
The joyful clamours of the people are,
When “Ave, Caesar!” they pronounce aloud.
Within this school of honor I shall learn
Either to sacrifice my foes to death,
Or in a rightful quarrel spend my breath.
Then cheerfully forward, each a several way;
In great affairs ’tis nought to use delay.