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Y. Mor. Strike off his head, he shall have martial

Kent. Strike off my head ! base traitor, I defy thee.
King. My lord, he is my uncle, and shall live. 90
Y. Mor. My lord, he is your enemy, and shall die.
Kent. Stay, villains !

King. Sweet mother, if I cannot pardon him,
Entreat my Lord Protector for his life.

Queen. Son, be content; I dare not speak a word.

King. Nor I, and yet methinks I should command;
But, seeing I cannot, I'll entreat for him,-
My lord, if you will let my uncle live,
I will requite it when I come to age.
Y. Mor. 'Tis for your highness' good, and for the

How often shall I bid you bear him hence ?

Kent. Art thou king? must I die at thy command ?
Y. Mor. At our command! once more away with

Kent. Let me but stay and speak; I will not go.


brother or my son is king,
And none of both them thirst for Edmund's blood.
And therefore, soldiers, whither will you hale me?

[They hale Kent away, and carry him to be beheaded.
King. What safety may I look for at his hands,
If that my uncle shall be murdered thus ?
Queen. Fear not, sweet boy, I'll guard thee from thy

Had Edmund lived, he would have sought thy death.
Come, son, we'll ride a hunting in the park.


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King. And shall my uncle Edmund ride with us?
Queen. He is a traitor ; think not on him ; come.

[Exeunt omnes. SCENE V.



Mat. Gurney, I wonder the king dies not,
Being in a vault up to the knees in water,
To which the channels of the castle run,
From whence a damp continually ariseth,
That were enough to poison any man,
Much more a king brought up so tenderly.

Gur. And so do I, Matrevis : yesternight
I opened but the door to throw him meat,
And I was almost stifled with the savour.

Mat. He hath a body able to endure
More than we can inflict : and therefore now
Let us assail his mind another while.

Gur. Send for him out thence, and I will anger him.
Mat. But stay, who's this ?

Light. My Lord Protector greets you.
Gur. What's here? I know not how to construe it.

Mat. Gurney, it was left unpointed for the nonce;
Edwardum occidere nolite timere,
That's his meaning.

Light. Know ye this token? I must have the king.
Mat. I, stay awhile, thou shalt have answer straight. 20

1 Scene: Berkeley Castle.




This villain's sent to make away the king. [Aside. Gur. I thought as much.

[Aside. Mat. And when the murder's done, See how he must be handled for his labour. Pereat iste! Let him have the king.

[Aside. What else ? here is the keys, this is the lake, Do as you are commanded by my lord.

Light. I know what I must do; get you away.
Yet be not far off, I shall need your help;
See that in the next room I have a fire,
And get me a spit, and let it be red-hot.

Mat. Very well.
Gur. Need you anything besides?
Light. What else? A table and a feather-bed.
Gur. That's all ?

Light. I, I; so, when I call you, bring It in.

Mat. Fear not thou that.

Gur. Here's a light, To go into the dungeon.

[Gives light, and exit with MATREVIS. Light. So ? now Must I about this gear ;3 ne'er was there any So finely handled as this king shall be. Foh, here's a place indeed, with all my heart ! Edw. Who's there? what light is that? wherefore Light. To comfort you, and bring you joyful news. 40

com'st thou ?

11.c., the dungeon full of mire and puddle. But perhaps we should read “lock.”

2 A curtain is drawn and the king is discovered in the dungeon. 3 Business.

Edw. Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks. Villain, I know thou com'st to murder me.

Light. To murder you, my most gracious lord !
Far is it from my heart to do you harm.
The queen sent me to see how you were used,
For she relents at this your misery :
And what eyes can refrain from shedding tears,
To see a king in this most piteous state ?

Edw. Weep'st thou already ? list awhile to me.
And then thy heart, were it as Gurney's is,

50 Or as Matrevis', hewn from the Caucasus, Yet will it melt, ere I have done my tale. This dungeon where they keep me is the sink Wherein the filth of all the castle falls.

Light. O villains !

Edw. 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.
O, would my blood dropped out from every vein,
As doth this water from my tattered 1 robes.
Tell Isabel, the queen, I looked not thus,
When for her sake I ran at tilt in France,
And there unhorsed the Duke of Cleremont.


i So eds, 1598, 1612.-Ed. 1622 “tottered.”

Light. O speak no more, my lord ! this breaks my

heart. Lie on this bed, and rest yourself awhile, Edw. These looks of thine can harbour nought but death :

70 I see my tragedy written in thy brows. Yet stay; awhile forbear thy bloody hand, And let me see the stroke before it comes, That ? even then when I shall lose my life, My mind may be more steadfast on my God.

Light. What means your highness to mistrust me thus ? Edw. What mean'st thou to dissemble with me

thus ? Light. These hands were never stained with innocent

blood, Nor shall they now be tainted with a king's.

79 Edw. Forgive my thought 3 for having such a thought. One jewel have I left, receive thou this. [Giving jewel. Still fear I, and I know not what's the cause, But every joint shakes as I give it thee. o, if thou harbour'st murder in thy heart, Let this gift change thy mind, and save thy soul ! Know that I am a king : 0! at that name I feel a hell of grief; where is my crown? Gone, gone; and do I remain alive ? 4

1 The feather-bed mentioned in l. 32. “ It was no doubt thrust upon the stage from the wing after the exit of Gurney and Matrevis.”-Dyce.

2 Old eds. “That and even."

3 Mr. Fleay would read “fau't" (i.e, fault), comparing Richard III, ii. 1, 104 :-—"His fault was thought.”

* So ed. 1598.-Omitted in eds. 1612, 1622.

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