Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE I. - The Works of Christopher Marlowe, vol. 2
SCENE I. - Christopher Marlowe, The Works of Christopher Marlowe, vol. 2 
The Works of Christopher Marlowe, ed. A.H. Bullen (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885). Vol. 2.
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Enter the King,Leicester, the BishopofWinchester, and Trussel.
- Be patient, good my lord, cease to lament,
- Imagine Killingworth Castle were your court,
- And that you lay for pleasure here a space,
- Not of compulsion or necessity.
- Leicester, if gentle words might comfort me,
- Thy speeches long ago had eased my sorrows;
- For kind and loving hast thou always been.
- The griefs of private men are soon allayed,
- But not of kings. The forest deer, being struck,
- Runs to an herb that closeth up the wounds;
- But, when the imperial lion's flesh is gored,
- He rends and tears it with his wrathful paw,
- [And] highly scorning that the lowly earth
- Should drink his blood, mounts up to the air.
- And so it fares with me, whose dauntless mind
- The ambitious Mortimer would seek to curb,
- And that unnatural queen, false Isabel,
- That thus hath pent and mewed me in a prison;
- For such outrageous passions cloy my soul,
- As with the wings of rancour and disdain,
- Full oft[en] am I soaring up to heaven,
- To plain me to the gods against them both.
- But when I call to mind I am a king,
- Methinks I should revenge me of my wrongs,
- That Mortimer and Isabel have done.
- 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,
- By Mortimer, and my unconstant queen,
- Who spots my nuptial bed with infamy;
- Whilst I am lodged within this cave of care,
- Where sorrow at my elbow still attends,
- To company my heart with sad laments,
- That bleeds within me for this strange exchange.
- But tell me, must I now resign my crown,
- To make usurping Mortimer a king?
- Your grace mistakes; it is for England's good,
- And princely Edward's right we crave the crown.
- No, 'tis for Mortimer, not Edward's head;
- For he's a lamb, encompassèd by wolves,
- Which in a moment will abridge his life.
- But if proud Mortimer do wear this crown,
- Heavens turn it to a blaze of quenchless fire!
- Or like the snaky wreath of Tisiphon,
- Engirt the temples of his hateful head;
- So shall not England's vine “vines.” be perishèd,
- But Edward's name survives, though Edward dies.
- My lord, why waste you thus the time away?
- They stay your answer; will you yield your crown?
- Ah, Leicester, weigh how hardly I can brook
- To lose my crown and kingdom without cause;
- To give ambitious Mortimer my right,
- That like a mountain overwhelms my bliss,
- In which extreme my mind here murdered is.
- But what the heavens appoint, I must obey!
- Here, take my crown; the life of Edward too;
- [Taking off the crown.
- Two kings in England cannot reign at once.
- But stay awhile, let me be king till night,
- That I may gaze upon this glittering crown;
- So shall my eyes receive their last content,
- My head, the latest honour due to it,
- And jointly both yield up their wishèd right.
- Continue ever thou celestial sun;
- Let never silent night possess this clime:
- Stand still you watches of the element;
- All times and seasons, rest you at a stay,
- That Edward may be still fair England's king!
- But day's bright beam doth vanish fast away,
- And needs I must resign my wishèd crown.
- Inhuman creatures! nursed with tiger's milk!
- Why gape you for your sovereign's overthrow!
- My diadem I mean, and guiltless life.
- See, monsters, see, I'll wear my crown again!
- [He puts on the crown.
- What, fear you not the fury of your king?
- But, hapless Edward, thou art fondly led;
- They pass not for thy frowns as late they did,
- But seek to make a new-elected king;
- Which fills my mind with strange despairing thoughts,
- Which thoughts are martyrèd with endless torments,
- And in this torment comfort find I none,
- But that I feel the crown upon my head;
- And therefore let me wear it yet awhile.
- My lord, the parliament must have present news,
- And therefore say, will you resign or no?
- I'll not resign, but whilst I live [be king].
- Traitors, be gone! and join you with Mortimer!
- Elect, conspire, install, do what you will:—
- Their blood and yours shall seal these treacheries!
- This answer we'll return, and so farewell.
- Call them again, my lord, and speak them fair:
- For if they go, the prince shall lose his right.
- Call thou them back, I have no power to speak.
- My lord, the king is willing to resign.
- If he be not, let him choose.
- O would I might! but heavens and earth conspire
- To make me miserable! Here receive my crown;
- Receive it? no, these innocent hands of mine
- Shall not be guilty of so foul a crime.
- He of you all that most desires my blood,
- And will be called the murderer of a king,
- Take it. What, are you moved? pity you me?
- Then send for unrelenting Mortimer,
- And Isabel, whose eyes, being turned to steel,
- Will sooner sparkle fire than shed a tear.
- Yet stay, for rather than I'll look on them,
- Here, here!
- [He gives them the crown
- Now, sweet God of heaven,
- Make me despise this transitory pomp,
- And sit for aye enthronizèd in heaven!
- Come, death, and with thy fingers close my eyes.
- Or if I live, let me forget myself.
- Call me not lord; away—out of my sight:
- Ah. pardon me: grief makes me lunauc!
- Let not that Mortimer protect my son;
- More safety there is in a tiger's jaws,
- Than his embracements—bear this to the queen,
- Wet with my tears, and dried again with sighs;
- [Gives a handkerchief.
- If with the sight thereof she be not moved,
- Return it back and dip it in my blood.
- Commend me to my son, and bid him rule
- Better than I. Yet how have I trangressed,
- Unless it be with too much clemency?
- And thus most humbly do we take our leave
- Farewell; I know the next news that they bring
- Will be my death; and welcome shall it be;
- To wretched men, death is felicity.
- EnterBerkeley, who gives a paper toLeicester.
- Another post! what news brings he?
- Such news as I expect—come, Berkeley, come,
- And tell thy message to my naked breast.
- My lord, think not a thought so villainous
- Can harbour in a man of noble birth.
- To do your highness service and devoir,
- And save you from your foes, Berkeley would die.
- My lord, the council of the queen commands
- That I resign my charge.
- And who must keep me now? Must you, my lord?
- Ay, my most gracious lord—so 'tis decreed.
- [taking the paper.] By Mortimer, whose name is written here!
- Well may I rent his name that rends my heart!
- [Tears it.
- This poor revenge has something eased my mind.
- So may his limbs be torn, as is this paper!
- Hear me, immortal Jove, and grant it too!
- Your grace must hence with me to Berkeley straight.
- Whither you will, all places are alike,
- And every earth is fit for bunal.
- Favour him, my lord, as much as lieth in you.
- Even so betide my soul as I use him.
- Mine enemy hath pitied my estate,
- And that's the cause that I am now removed.
- And thinks your grace that Berkeley will be cruel?
- I know not; but of this am I assured,
- That death ends all, and I can die but once.
- Leicester, farewell!
- Not yet, my lord; I'll bear you on your way.
- [Exeunt omnes.
- “Hic Venus, indigno nati concussa dolore,
- Dictamnum genitrix Cretaea carpit ab Ida,
- Puberibus caulem folus et flore comantem
- Purpureo: non illa feris incognita capris
- Gramina cum tergo volucres hausere sagittœ.”
- Elizabethan poets are fond of alluding to the virtues of this herb. Cf. (one of many instances) Peele's Arraignment of Paris, iii. I.—
- “And whither wends yon thriveless swain? like to the stricken deer,
- Seeks he dictamnum for his wound within our forest here?”