Fiction > Harvard Classics > Christopher Marlowe > Edward the Second
Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593).  Edward the Second.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Act the First
Scene IV

  Lan.  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 do the others after him.]
  Lan.  Quick, quick, my lord; I long to write my name.        4
  War.  But I long more to see him banish’d hence.
  Y. Mor.  The name of Mortimer shall fright the king,
Unless he be declin’d from that base peasant.

  K. Edw.  What, are you mov’d that Gaveston sits here?
It is our pleasure; we will have it so.
  Lan.  Your grace doth well to place him by your side,
For nowhere else the new earl is so safe.
  E. Mor.  What man of noble birth can brook this sight?        12
Quam male conveniunt! 1
See what a scornful look the peasant casts!
  Pem.  Can kingly lions fawn on creeping ants?
  War.  Ignoble vassal, that like Phaeton        16
Aspir’st unto the guidance of the sun!
  Y. Mor.  Their downfall is at hand, their forces down;
We will not thus be fac’d and over-peer’d.
  K. Edw.  Lay hands on that traitor Mortimer!        20
  E. Mor.  Lay hands on 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.        24
  E. Mor.  We are no traitors; therefore threaten not.
  Gav.  No, threaten not, my lord, but pay them home!
Were I a king—
  Y. Mor.  Thou villain, wherefore talk’st thou of a king,        28
That hardly art a gentleman by birth?
  K. Edw.  Were he a peasant, being my minion,
I’ll make the proudest of you stoop to him.
  Lan.  My lord, you may not thus disparage us.—        32
Away, I say, with hateful Gaveston!
  E. Mor.  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;        36
Warwick and Lancaster, wear you my crown.
Was ever king thus over-rul’d as I?
  Lan.  Learn then to rule us better, and the realm.
  Y. Mor.  What we have done, our heart-blood shall maintain.        40
  War.  Think you that we can brook this upstart pride?
  K. Edw.  Anger and wrathful fury stops my speech.
  A. of Cant.  Why are you mov’d? Be patient, my lord,
And see what we your counsellors have done.        44
  Y. Mor.  My lords, now let us all be resolute,
And either have our wills, or lose our lives.
  K. Edw.  Meet you for this, proud overbearing peers?
Ere my sweet Gaveston shall part from me,        48
This isle shall fleet 2 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,        52
Subscribe, as we have done, to his exile.
  Y. Mor.  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.        56
Curse me, depose me, do the worst you can.
  Lan.  Then linger not, my lord, but do it straight.
  A. of Cant.  Remember how the bishop was abus’d!
Either banish him that was the cause thereof,        60
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 obey’d.        64
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;        68
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,        72
To frolic with my dearest Gaveston.
  A. of Cant.  Nothing shall alter us, we are resolv’d.
  Lan.  Come, come, subscribe.
  Y. Mor.  Why should you love him whom the world hates so?        76
  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.        80
  War.  You that are princely-born should shake him off.
For shame subscribe, and let the lown 3 depart.
  E. Mor.  Urge him, my lord.
  A. of Cant.  Are you content to banish him the realm?        84
  K. Edw.  I see I must, and therefore am content.
Instead of ink, I’ll write it with my tears.  [Subscribes.]
  Y. Mor.  The king is love-sick for his minion.
  K. Edw.  ’Tis done; and now, accursed hand, fall off!        88
  Lan.  Give it me; I’ll have it publish’d in the streets.
  Y. Mor.  I’ll see him presently despatch’d away.
  A. of Cant.  Now is my heart at ease.
  War.  And so is mine.        92
  Pem.  This will be good news to the common sort.
  E. Mor.  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.        96
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,        100
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 rais’d higher with their sepulchres!        104
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 banish’d, and must fly the land.        108
  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 depos’d.
But I will reign to be reveng’d of them;        112
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.        116
  Gav.  Is all my hope turn’d to this hell of grief?
  K. Edw.  Rend not my heart with thy too-piercing words:
Thou from this land, I from myself am banish’d.
  Gav.  To go from hence grieves not poor Gaveston;        120
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        124
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.]        128
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.        132
  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.        136
  Gav.  For every look, my lord 4 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.        140
But come, sweet friend, I’ll bear thee on thy way.
  Gav.  The peers will frown.
  K. Edw.  I pass 5 not for their anger—Come, let’s go;
O that we might as well return as go.        144

  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—        148
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 affections,        152
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 exil’d;        156
But I would wish thee reconcile the lords,
Or thou shalt ne’er be reconcil’d to me.
  Q. Isab.  Your highness knows it lies not in my power.
  K. Edw.  Away then! touch me not.—Come, Gaveston.        160
  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 deserv’d these words?        164
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!        168
There weep; for till my Gaveston be repeal’d,
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 embark’d,        172
That charming Circe, walking on the waves,
Had chang’d my shape, or at the marriage-day
The cup of Hymen had been full of poison,
Or with those arms that twin’d about my neck        176
I had been stifled, and not liv’d 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;        180
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,        184
And be a means to call home Gaveston.
And yet he’ll ever doat on Gaveston;
And so am I for ever miserable.

  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 injures such a saint.
  Y. Mor.  I know ’tis ’long of Gaveston she weeps.        192
  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.        196
  Y. Mor.  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.
  Lan.  Fear ye not, madam; now his minion’s gone,        200
His wanton humour will be quickly left.
  Q. Isab.  O never, Lancaster! I am enjoin’d
To sue upon you all for his repeal;
This wills my lord, and this must I perform,        204
Or else be banish’d from his highness’ presence.
  Lan.  For his repeal? Madam, he comes not back,
Unless the sea cast up his shipwreck’d body.
  War.  And to behold so sweet a sight as that,        208
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 restor’d,
The angry king hath banish’d me the court;        212
And, therefore, as thou lov’st and tend’rest me,
Be thou my advocate unto these peers.
  Y. Mor.  What! would you have me plead for Gaveston?
  E. Mor.  Plead for him he that will, I am resolv’d.        216
  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.        220
  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;        224
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        228
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,        232
Will you be resolute, and hold with me?
  E. Mor.  Not I, against my nephew.
  Pem.  Fear not, the queen’s words cannot alter him.
  War.  No? Do but mark how earnestly she pleads!        236
  Lan.  And see how coldly his looks make denial!
  War.  She smiles; now for my life his mind is chang’d!
  Lan.  I’ll rather lose his friendship, I, than grant.
  Y. Mor.  Well, of necessity it must be so.        240
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;        244
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?        248
Such reasons make white black, and dark night day.
  Y. Mor.  My lord of Lancaster, mark the respect. 6
  Lan.  In no respect can contraries be true.
  Q. Isab.  Yet, good my lord, hear what he can allege.        252
  War.  All that he speaks is nothing; we are resolv’d.
  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.        256
  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,        260
Which may in Ireland purchase him such friends
As he will front the mightest of us all?
And whereas he shall live and be belov’d,
’Tis hard for us to work his overthrow.        264
  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 suborn’d
To greet his lordship with a poniard,        268
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!        272
  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        276
To banish him, and then to call him home,
’Twill make him vail 7 the top-flag of his pride,
And fear to offend the meanest nobleman.
  E. Mor.  But how if he do not, nephew?        280
  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,        284
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.        288
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,        292
Think me as base a groom as Gaveston.
  Lan.  On that condition, Lancaster will grant.
  War.  And so will Pembroke and I.
  E. Mor.  And I.        296
  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 abandon’d and forlorn.—        300
But see, in happy time, my lord the king,
Having brought the Earl of Cornwall on his way,
Is new return’d. This news will glad him much,
Yet not so much as me. I love him more        304
Than he can Gaveston; would he lov’d me
But half so much, then were I treble-bless’d.
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        308
As doth the want of my sweet Gaveston;
And could my crown’s revenue bring him back,
I would freely give it to his enemies,
And think I gain’d, having bought so dear a friend.        312
  Q. Isab.  Hark! how he harps upon his minion.
  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,        316
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 forc’d to leave my Gaveston!        320
  Lan.  Diablo! What passions call you these?
  Q. Isab.  My gracious lord, I come to bring you news.
  K. Edw.  That you have parley’d with your Mortimer!
  Q. Isab.  That Gaveston, my lord, shall be repeal’d.        324
  K. Edw.  Repeal’d! 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.        328
  K. Edw.  For thee, fair queen, if thou lov’st Gaveston.
I’ll hang a golden tongue about thy neck,
Seeing thou hast pleaded with so good success.
  Q. Isab.  No other jewels hang about my neck        332
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        336
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,        340
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.        344
Live thou with me as my companion.
  Lan.  This salutation overjoys my heart.
  K. Edw.  Warwick shall be my chiefest counsellor:
These silver hairs will more adorn my court        348
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,        352
Pembroke shall bear the sword before the king.
  Pem.  And with this sword Pembroke will fight for you.
  K. Edw.  But wherefore walks young Mortimer aside?
Be thou commander of our royal fleet;        356
Or, if that lofty office like thee not,
I make thee here Lord Marshal of the realm.
  Y. Mor.  My lord, I’ll marshal so your enemies,
As England shall be quiet, and you safe.        360
  K. Edw.  And as for you, Lord Mortimer of Chirke,
Whose great achievements in our foreign war
Deserves no common place nor mean reward,
Be you the general of the levied troops,        364
That now are ready to assail the Scots.
  E. Mor.  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,        368
Having the love of his renowned peers.
  K. Edw.  Ay, Isabel, ne’er was my heart so light.
Clerk of the crown, direct our warrant forth
For Gaveston to Ireland:        372
[Enter BEAUMONT with warrant.]

        Beaumont, fly
As fast as Iris or Jove’s Mercury.
  Bea.  It shall be done, my gracious lord.  [Exit.]
  K. Edw.  Lord Mortimer, we leave you to your charge.        376
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 solemnis’d.        380
For wot you not that I have made him sure 8
Unto our cousin, the Earl of Gloucester’s heir?
  Lan.  Such news we hear, my lord.
  K. Edw.  That day, if not for him, yet for my sake,        384
Who in the triumph will be challenger,
Spare for no cost; we will requit 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.        388
  E. Mor.  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 doats on Gaveston,        392
Let him without controlment have his will.
The mightiest kings have had their minions:
Great Alexander loved Hephestion;
The conquering Hercules 9 for Hylas wept;        396
And for Patroclus stern Achilles drooped
And not kings only, but the wisest men:
The Roman Tully lov’d Octavius;
Grave Socrates, wild Alcibiades.        400
Then let his grace, whose youth is flexible,
And promiseth as much as we can wish,
Freely enjoy that vain, light-headed earl;
For riper years will wean him from such toys.        404
  Y. Mor.  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.        408
While soldiers mutiny for want of pay,
He wears a lord’s revenue on his back,
And Midas-like, he jets 10 it in the court,
With base outlandish cullions 11 at his heels,        412
Whose proud fantastic liveries make such show
As if that Proteus, god of shapes, appear’d.
I have not seen a dapper Jack so brisk;
He wears a short Italian hooded cloak        416
Larded with pearl, and, in his Tuscan cap,
A jewel of more value than the crown.
While others walk below, the king and he
From out a window laugh at such as we,        420
And flout our train, and jest at our attire.
Uncle, ’tis this that makes me impatient.
  E. Mor.  But, nephew, now you see the king is chang’d.
  Y. Mor.  Then so am I, and live to do him service:        424
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.
Note 1. How ill they agree! [back]
Note 2. Float. [back]
Note 3. Fellow. [back]
Note 4. Altered to “love” in Dodsley, &c. [back]
Note 5. Care. [back]
Note 6. Consideration. [back]
Note 7. Lower. [back]
Note 8. Affianced him. [back]
Note 9. Qq. Hector. [back]
Note 10. Struts. [back]
Note 11. Scoundrels. [back]


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