Roxborough. Another part of the castle.
(Derby; Audley; King Edward; Lodowick; Prince Edward; Countess of Salisbury)
The Earl of Derby and Audley meet up, having respectively mustered men and gained support from the Emperor for the expedition to France. The King, however, is so busy mooning over the Countess that he cannot keep his mind on military matters. In fact, he is losing all interest in war. Luckily, his son Prince Edward arrives with the troops he has raised, prepared to go to France. The King notes the resemblance between the Prince and his mother, and begins to realize how out-of-control his behavior is. This does not prevent him from joyously greeting the Countess when he believes she has arrived to yield to him, and at her request promising to execute both her husband and his wife. As a last resort, she pulls out a dagger and threatens to kill herself if he persists in his suit. Realizing that the case is hopeless, he swears to leave her alone, and goes off to conquer France instead. (212 lines)
Enter at one door Derby from France, At an other door Audley with a Drum.
Thrice noble Audley, well encount’red here!
How is it with our sovereign and his peers?
’Tis full a fortnight, since I saw his highness
What time he sent me forth to muster men;
Which I accordingly have done, and bring them hither
In fair array before his majesty.
What news, my Lord of Derby, from the Emperor?
As good as we desire: the Emperor
Hath yielded to his highness friendly aid,
And makes our king lieutenant general
In all his lands and large dominions;
Then via! For the spatious bounds of France!
What, doth his highness leap to hear these news?
I have not yet found time to open them;
The king is in his closet, malcontent;
For what, I know not, but he gave in charge,
Till after dinner none should interrupt him:
The Countess Salisbury and her father Warwick,
Artois and all look underneath the brows.
Undoubtedly, then, some thing is amiss.
The trumpets sound, the king is now abroad.
Enter the King.
Here comes his highness.
Befall my sovereign all my sovereign’s wish!
Ah, that thou wert a witch to make it so!
The Emperor greeteth you.
Would it were the Countess!
And hath accorded to your highness suite.
Thou liest, she hath not; but I would she had.
All love and duty to my lord the King!
Well, all but one is none.—What news with you?
I have, my liege, levied those horse and foot
According to your charge, and brought them hither.
Then let those foot trudge hence upon those horse
According to our discharge, and be gone.—
Darby, I’ll look upon the Countess’ mind anon.
The Countess’ mind, my liege?
I mean the Emperor. Leave me alone.
What is his mind?
Let’s leave him to his humor.
Thus from the heart’s aboundance speaks the tongue;
Countess for Emperor: and, indeed, why not?
She is as imperator over me, and I to her
Am as a kneeling vassal, that observes
The pleasure or displeasure of her eye.
What says the more than Cleopatra’s match
To Caesar now?
That yet, my liege, ere night
She will resolve your majesty.
What drum is this that thunders forth this march,
To start the tender Cupid in my bosom?
Poor sheepskin, how it brawls with him that beateth it!
Go, break the thundring parchment bottom out,
And I will teach it to conduct sweet lines
Unto the bosom of a heavenly nymph;
For I will use it as my writing paper,
And so reduce him from a scolding drum
To be the herald and dear counsel bearer
Betwixt a goddess and a mighty king.
Go, bid the drummer learn to touch the Lute,
Or hang him in the braces of his drum,
For now we think it an uncivil thing,
To trouble heaven with such harsh resounds:
The quarrel that I have requires no arms
But these of mine: and these shall meet my foe
In a deep march of penetrable groans;
My eyes shall be my arrows, and my sighs
Shall serve me as the vantage of the wind,
To whirl away my sweetest artillery.
Ah, but, alas, she wins the sun of me,
For that is she herself, and thence it comes
That poets term the wanton warrior blind;
But love hath eyes as judgement to his steps,
Till too much loved glory dazzles them.—
My liege, the drum that stroke the lusty march,
Stands with Prince Edward, your thrice valiant son.
Enter Prince Edward.
I see the boy; oh, how his mother’s face,
Modeled in his, corrects my strayed desire,
And rates my heart, and chides my thievish eye,
Who, being rich enough in seeing her,
Yet seeks elsewhere: and basest theft is that
Which cannot cloak itself on poverty.—
Now, boy, what news?
I have assembled, my dear lord and father,
The choicest buds of all our English blood
For our affairs in France; and here we come
To take direction from your majesty.
Still do I see in him delineate
His mother’s visage; those his eyes are hers,
Who, looking wistely on me, make me blush:
For faults against themselves give evidence;
Lust is fire, and men like lanterns show
Light lust within themselves, even through themselves.
Away, loose silks of wavering vanity!
Shall the large limit of fair Britain
By me be overthrown, and shall I not
Master this little mansion of myself?
Give me an armor of eternal steel!
I go to conquer kings; and shall I not then
Subdue myself? And be my enemy’s friend?
It must not be.—Come, boy, forward, advance!
Let’s with our colors sweet the air of France.
My liege, the Countess with a smiling cheer
Desires access unto your Majesty.
Why, there it goes! That very smile of hers
Hath ransomed captive France, and set the King,
The Dauphin, and the peers at liberty.—
Go, leave me, Ned, and revel with thy friends.
Exit Prince Edward.
Thy mother is but black, and thou, like her,
Dost put it in my mind how foul she is.—
Go, fetch the Countess hither in thy hand,
And let her chase away these winter clouds,
For she gives beauty both to heaven and earth.
The sin is more to hack and hew poor men,
Than to embrace in an unlawful bed
The register of all rarities
Since leatheren Adam till this youngest hour.
Enter Countess escorted by Lodowick.
Go, Lodowick, put thy hand into my purse,
Play, spend, give, riot, waste, do what thou wilt,
So thou wilt hence awhile and leave me here.
Now, my soul’s playfellow, art thou come
To speak the more than heavenly word of “yea”
To my objection in thy beauteous love?
My father on his blessing hath commanded—
That thou shalt yield to me?
Aye, dear my liege, your due.
And that, my dearest love, can be no less
Than right for right and tender love for love.
Then wrong for wrong and endless hate for hate.—
But,—sith I see your majesty so bent,
That my unwillingness, my husband’s love,
Your high estate, nor no respect respected
Can be my help, but that your mightiness
Will overbear and awe these dear regards—
I bind my discontent to my content,
And what I would not I’ll compel I will,
Provided that yourself remove those lets
That stand between your highness’ love and mine.
Name them, fair Countess, and, by heaven, I will.
It is their lives that stand between our love,
That I would have choked up, my sovereign.
Whose lives, my Lady?
My thrice loving liege,
Your Queen and Salisbury, my wedded husband,
Who living have that title in our love,
That we cannot bestow but by their death.
Thy opposition is beyond our Law.
So is your desire: if the law
Can hinder you to execute the one,
Let it forbid you to attempt the other.
I cannot think you love me as you say,
Unless you do make good what you have sworn.
No more; thy husband and the Queen shall die.
Fairer thou art by far than Hero was,
Beardless Leander not so strong as I:
He swom an easy current for his love,
But I will through a Hellespont of blood,
To arrive at Sestos where my Hero lies.
Nay, you’ll do more; you’ll make the river to
With their heart bloods that keep our love asunder,
Of which my husband and your wife are twain.
Thy beauty makes them guilty of their death
And gives in evidence that they shall die;
Upon which verdict I, their Judge, condemn them.
O perjured beauty, more corrupted judge!
When to the great star-chamber o’er our heads
The universal sessions calls to count
This packing evil, we both shall tremble for it.
What says my fair love? Is she resolute?
Resolute to be dissolute; and, therefore, this:
Keep but thy word, great king, and I am thine.
Stand where thou dost, I’ll part a little from thee,
And see how I will yield me to thy hands.
Turning suddenly upon him, and showing two daggers.
Here by my side doth hang my wedding knifes:
Take thou the one, and with it kill thy Queen,
And learn by me to find her where she lies;
And with this other I’ll dispatch my love,
Which now lies fast a sleep within my heart:
When they are gone, then I’ll consent to love.
Stir not, lascivious king, to hinder me;
My resolution is more nimbler far,
Than thy prevention can be in my rescue,
And if thou stir, I strike; therefore, stand still,
And hear the choice that I will put thee to:
Either swear to leave thy most unholy suit
And never hence forth to solicit me;
Or else, by heaven, this sharp-pointed knife
Shall stain thy earth with that which thou would stain,
My poor chaste blood. Swear, Edward, swear,
Or I will strike and die before thee here.
Even by that power I swear, that gives me now
The power to be ashamed of myself,
I never mean to part my lips again
In any words that tends to such a suit.
Arise, true English lady, whom our isle
May better boast of than ever Roman might
Of her, whose ransacked treasury hath taskt
The vain endeavor of so many pens:
Arise, and be my fault thy honor’s fame,
Which after ages shall enrich thee with.
I am awakened from this idle dream.—
Warwick, my son, Darby, Artois, and Audley!
Brave warriors all, where are you all this while?
Warwick, I make thee Warden of the North:—
Thou, Prince of Wales, and Audley, straight to sea;
Scour to Newhaven; some there stay for me:
Myself, Artois, and Darby will through Flanders,
To greet our friends there and to crave their aide.
This night will scarce suffice a faithful lover;
For, ere the sun shall gild the eastern sky,
We’ll wake him with our martial harmony.