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.
…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 an antic hay;
Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl above 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.
My lord, why do you thus incense your peers
That naturally would love and honour you,
But for that base and obscure Gaveston?
Bishop of Canterbury: …We and the rest that are his councillors
Will meet and with a general consent
Confirm his banishment with our hands and seals.
Lancaster: What we confirm the King will frustrate.
Mortimer Junior: Then may we lawfully revolt from him.
Edward: Lay hands on that traitor Mortimer!
Mortimer Senior: Lay hands on that traitor Gaveston!
[The NOBLES draw swords]
Kent: Is this the duty that you owe your King?
Warwick: We know our duties; let him know his peers.
Rend not my heart with thy too-piercing words.
Thou from this land, I from my self am banished.
Edward: Fawn not on me, French strumpet; get thee gone.
Isabella: On whom but on my husband should I fawn?
Gaveston: On Mortimer, with whom, ungentle Queen—
I say no more; judge you the rest, my lord.
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 wear's a lord's revenue 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 jewel of more value than the crown.
Whiles other walk below, the King and he
From out a window laugh at such as we,
And flout our train and jest at our attire.
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.
Lancaster: 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 O'Neill, with swarms of Irish kerns,
Lives uncontrolled within the English pale;
Unto the walls of York the Scots made road
And, unresisted, drove away rich spoils.
Mortimer Junior: The haughty Dane commands the narrow seas,
While in the harbour ride thy ships unrigged.
Monster of men,
That, like the Greekish strumpet, trained to arms
And bloody wars so many valiant knights,
Look for no other fortune, wretch, than death;
King Edward is not here to buckler thee.
Edward: O, shall I speak, or shall I sigh and die?
Spencer Junior: My lord, refer your vengeance to the sword
Upon these barons.
Mortimer Junior: Then, Edward, thou wilt fight it to the last,
And rather bathe thy sword in subjects' blood
Than banish that pernicious company?
Edward: Ay, traitors all! Rather than thus be braved,
Make England's civil towns huge heaps of stones
And ploughs to go about our palace gates.
Warwick: A desperate and unnatural resolution.
Isabella:…A heavy case,
When force to force is knit, and sword and glaive
In civil broils make kin and countrymen
Slaughter themselves in others, and their sides
With their own weapons gored. But what's the help?
Misgoverned kings are cause of all this wrack;
And Edward, thou art one among them all,
Whose looseness hath betrayed thy land to spoil
And made the channels overflow with blood.
Of thine own people patron shouldst thou be,
Mortimer Junior: Nay madam, if you be a warrior,
Ye must not grow so passionate in speeches.
Successful battles gives the God of kings
To them that fight in right and fear his wrath.
Since then successfully we have prevailed,
Thanks be heaven's great architect and you…
Sith the fates
Have made [Edward II] so infortunate,
Deal you, my lords, in this, my loving lords,
As to your wisdoms fittest seems in all.
But what is he, whom rule and empery
Have not in life or death made miserable?
Spencer, I see our souls are fleeted hence;
We are deprived the sunshine of our life.
Make for a new life, man; throw up thy eyes,
And heart and hand to heaven's immortal throne,
Pay nature's debt with cheerful countenance.
Reduce we all our lessons unto this:
To die, sweet Spencer, therefore live we all;
Spencer, all live to die, and rise to fall.
But what are kings, when regiment is gone,
But perfect shadows in a sunshine day?
My nobles rule; I bear the name of King.
I wear the crown, but am controlled by them
As thou intendest to rise by Mortimer,
Who now makes Fortune's wheel turn as he please,
Seek all the means thou canst to make him droop,
And neither give him kind word nor good look.
And there in mire and puddle have I stood
This ten days' space; and lest that I should sleep,
One plays continually upon a drum.
They give me bread and water being a king,
So that for want of sleep and sustenance
My mind's distempered and my body's numbed,
And whether I have limbs or no, I know not.
King Edward III: Traitor, in me my loving father speaks
And plainly saith, 'twas thou that murd'redst him.
Mortimer Junior: But hath your grace no other proof than this?
King Edward III: Yes, if this be the hand of Mortimer.
[He presents the letter]
Base Fortune, now I see that in thy wheel
There is a point to which, when men aspire,
They tumble headlong down; that point I touched,
And seeing there was no place to mount up higher,
Why should I grieve at my declining fall?