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Methinks I should revenge me of the 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 contrould by them,
By Mortimer, and my unconstant queen,
Who spots my nuptial bed with infamy;
Whilst I am lodg’d 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?
Winch. Your grace mistakes, it is for England's
And princely Edward's right, we crave the crown.
Edw. No, 'tis for Mortimer, not Edward's head; For he's a lamb, encompassed by wolves, Which in a moment will abridge his life. But if proud Mortimer do wear this crown, Heav'n 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 be perished, But Edward's name survive, though Edward dies. Leices. My lord, why waste you thus the time
away? They stay your answer, will you yield your crown?
Edw. 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
In which extremes my mind here murther'd is.
But what the heav'ns appoint, I must obey !
Here, take my crown ; the life of Edward too;
Two kings in England cannot reign at once.
But stay awhile, let me be king till vight, K
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 wished 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 wished crown.
Inhuman creatures! nurs’d 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 agaia !
[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 martyred 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.
TRUSTY. My lord, the parliament must have
present news, And therefore
will you resign or no ?
[The king rageth.
Edw. I'll not resign! but whilst I live, be king !
Traitors be gone, and join with Mortimer.
Elect, confirm,* install, do what you will;
Their blood and yours' shall seal these treacheries !
Winch. This answer we'll return, and so farewell. Leices. Call them again, my lord, and speak
them fair; For if they go, the prince shall lose his right. Edw. Call thou them back, I have no power to
Leices. My lord, the king is willing to resign.
Winch. If he be not, let him choose.
Edw. O would I might! but heav'n and earth
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 call'd the murtherer of a king,
Take it. What, are you mov'd ? pity you me?
The old editions read conspire. The allusion seems to be to the several forms observed in the creation of a bishop, in which confirmation mes between election and installation.
Then send for unrelenting Mortimer,
And Isabel, whose eyes, being turn’d to steel,
Will sooner sparkle fire than shed a tear.
Yet stay, for rather than I will look on them,
Here, here! Now, sweet God of heav'n,
[He gives them the crown.
Make me despise this transitory pomp,
And sit for ever enthroniz'd in heav'n !
Come, death, and with thy fingers close my eyes,
Or if I live, let me forget myself.
Winch. My lord.
Edw. Call me not lord ;
Away, out of my sight! ah, pardon me,
Grief makes me lunatic!
Let not that Mortimer protect my son ;
More safety is there in a tiger's jaws,
Than his embracements-bear this to the queen,
Wet with my tears, and dry'd again with sighs ;
If with the sight thereof she be not mov'd,
Return it back and dip it in my
Commend me to my son, and bid him rule
Better than I. Yet how have I transgrest, X
Unless it be with too much clemency?
TRUSTY. And thus most humbly do we take out *.
leave. [Exeunt Bishop and Attendants. Edw. Farewell; I know the next news that they
bring Will be my death ; and welcome shall it be ; To wretched men, death is felicity.
Enter BERKLEY. Leices. Another post ! what news brings he? Edw. Such news as I expect-come, Berkley
come, And tell thy message to my naked breast.
Berk. My lord, think not a thought so villanous Can harbour in a man of noble birth. To do your highuess service and devoir, And save you from your foes, Berkley would die. Leices. My lord, the counsel of the queen com
mands That I resign my charge.
Edw. And who must keep me now? Must you,
Berk. Aye, my most gracious lord-so 'tis de
creed. Edw. By Mortimer, whose name is written here ! Well may I rend his name that rends my heart ! This poor revenge hath something eas'd my mind. So may his limbs be torn, as is this paper ! Hear me, immortal Jove, and grant it too! BERK. Your grace must hence with me to Berkley
straight. Edw. Whither you will, all places are alike, And every
earth is fit for burial. Leices. Favour him, my lord, as much as lieth in
you. BERK. Even so betide my soul as I use him. Edw. Mine enemy hath pitied my estate,